Shaun Gladwell’s practice critically engages personal experience as well as wider speculation upon art history and the dynamics of contemporary culture through performance, video, painting, photography and sculpture. His projects in video have made discursive links between historical models and an understanding of the body in space such as the flâneur and contemporary cultural figures like the skateboarder, the motocross rider, the freestyle BMX rider, the graffiti artist, the free-runner and other physical and street performers. As this ongoing investigation of spatial articulation has deepened and gathered momentum it has begun to more closely inform and be reflected in the installation structures of the work itself, with an increased experimentation with multi-channel formats and architectural features as projection surfaces.
Gladwell’s work also experiments with more established representational genres. For instance, the romantic landscape and its traditional association with the sublime is co-opted by contemporary practices such as skateboarding or break dancing. However, his practice does not attempt to simply update or recuperate traditional models. On the contrary, the traditional model and current cultural practice cross-contaminate each other; nor is the continued use of ‘street’ or ‘subcultural’ activity directly claimed within the category of ‘art’. Rather, the populist projections of such cultural activity are both destabilised and transformed. Fast and furious MTV jump-cut editing is resisted and subverted through the use of slow motion and ambient soundscapes. The results are poetic, hypnotic and meditative representations that open the activities themselves to a wider range of readings not immediately associated with their sources, or Gladwell’s apparent subject matter.
Gladwell completed Associate Research at Goldsmiths College, London, in 2001. In 2009 he represented Australia at the Venice Biennale and travelled to Afghanistan as Australia’s Official War Artist. Gladwell’s work is held in significant public and private collections in Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA, The Netherlands and Japan. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Cycles of Radical Will’, De La Warr Pavilion, UK (2013); ‘Broken Dance (Beatboxed)’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (2012); Perpetual 360° Sessions, SCHUNCK*, The Netherlands (2011); Shaun Gladwell: Matrix 162, Wadsworth Atheneum, USA (2011); Stereo Sequences, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Australia (2011).
Notable group exhibitions include California-Pacific Triennial, Orange County Museum, USA (2013); The Last Wave, La Friche la Belle de Mai, Marseille, France (2013); On Apology, Wattis Institute, San Francisco, USA (2012); Show Time: Choreography in Contemporary Art, glHoltegaard, Copenhagen, Denmark (2012); The Power of Doubt, Guangdong Times Museum, China, 2012 and Museo Colecciones ICO, Madrid, Spain (2011); Paradise Lost, Istanbul Museum of Art, Turkey (2011); Street and Studio. From Basquiat to Séripop, Kunsthalle Vienna, Austria (2010); Adaptation, Power Plant, Canada (2010); CODE SHARE, Contemporary Art Centre Vilnius (2009); 16th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2008); Space for Your Future, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2007); 52nd International Exhibition, Venice Biennale (2007); 27th São Paulo Biennial, Brazil and Busan Biennale, South Korea (2006); Yokohama Triennale of Contemporary Art (2005); Space Invaders, Kunsthaus Baselland (2005).
Gladwell lives and works in London, UK.