The Sisters Hayes

Its status as an extreme sport is still pending, but three sisters working collaboratively as artists, curators, costume and stage set designers has got to sit somewhere between base jumping and synchronised swimming on the difficulty scale.

The Sisters Hayes, Big Sky Country, 2012, photograph, exhibition at Rae & Bennett Fine Art Gallery 2012

The Sisters Hayes, Big Sky Country, 2012, photograph, exhibition at Rae & Bennett Fine Art Gallery 2012

Christina is the eldest, Esther is the middle child and Rebecca is the youngest. Though that might sound like the beginnings of some kind of Brothers Grimm fairytale (another set of collaborative siblings), this trio work collaboratively from conceiving and conceptualising a project, right through to installation – which could entail anything from sewing on sequins to hand-painting a wall drawing.

The Sisters Hayes’ projects are characterised by hand-crafted objects, environments and installations, as well as  detailed mythic portraits. This has led, unsurprisingly, to working beyond the gallery, with writers, directors and other artists to construct immersive and ornately designed exhibition spaces, costumes and stage sets.

Their work is a synthesis of three distinct approaches to art-making: Christina is a trained painter, Esther is a costume designer and Rebecca is an animator, illustrator and video artist. The complex theatre of familial relationships is only heightened in collaboration, and evident in the visual complexity of their work, where the process of conceiving, constructing and presenting a new body of work is multiplied by three.

The Sisters Hayes, Big Sky Country, 2012, photograph, exhibition at Rae & Bennett Fine Art Gallery 2012

The Sisters Hayes, Big Sky Country, 2012, photograph, exhibition at Rae & Bennett Fine Art Gallery 2012

The Sisters Hayes’ most recent solo exhibition entitled Big Sky Country at Rae & Bennett focused their attention on creating a series of photographs which made historical fiction out of the real journey their American ancestors took before settling in Montana. This kind of manipulation of narrative sits are the centre of their collaborative practice.

The Great un Reveal saw the sisters collaborate with several Arts Project artists. This exhibition which included installation, performance, sculpture and photography was an opportunity for all the artists concerned to manipulate portraiture as a strategy to both reveal and conceal.

Blood Wedding, production at the Malthouse theatre, directed by Marion Potts, set and costume design by The Sisters Hayes, 2012

Blood Wedding, production at the Malthouse theatre, directed by Marion Potts, set and costume design by The Sisters Hayes, 2012

Last year the sisters designed the stage set and costumes for Blood Wedding, at the Malthouse Theatre; pairing the immersive particularities of character, nuanced elements of narrative and signals of nostalgia with the Baroque-hand-craftedness their work hinges on.

The associations between the Sisters Hayes Project and Candice Breitz’s work Factum  (Breitz’s presentation of interviews with identical twins) are overt, less so because of the familial struggles and frictions so apparent on the surface of the work, and more so because of Breitz’s (unseen and unheard) collaboration and editing. Factum, like much of The Sisters Hayes work is often concerned with casting fictions across and over a disparate range of materials, where editing, in its construction and deconstruction, takes centre stage.

– Amita Kirpalani, Assistant Curator, ACMI

The Sisters Hayes are one of four artists participating in Profile Me; a competition inspired by our current exhibition Candice Breitz: The Character. Visit the Profile Me hub for more information on how you can enter and be in the running to win your very own digital portrait.

Tags: , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply