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De La Warr Pavilion presents Shaun Gladwell Cycles of Radical Will

De La Warr Pavilion presents Shaun Gladwell Cycles of Radical Will on view through 23 June 2013, Shaun Gladwell’s largest exhibition in the UK to date.

Shaun Gladwell
Shaun Gladwell, BMX Channel (production still), 2013. HD video. Courtesy the artist. Limited-edition print by Nigel Green (1 – 60).

Gladwell critically engages personal experience, the practice of extreme sports such as skateboarding and BMX riding, and historical traditions. These concerns are investigated through video, painting, photography, sculpture and, for this exhibition, a public programme. The work continually references the architectural characteristics of the De La Warr Pavilion and immediate environment in a discursive web of relationships. The exhibition also ‘performs’ seasonal changes over its five-month period, as several videos and sculptural works are added and exchanged.

Gladwell’s research into the physical and cultural landscape of East Sussex has led to an entirely new body of work referencing a wide variety of contemporary practices and historical events—such as the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the pagan figure of Jack-in-the-Green, the May 1964 conflict between Mods and Rockers (the second battle of Hastings), as well as rivalry between BMX and skateboarding subcultures.

The exhibition features two major sculptural installations—the latest iterations in the artist’s series of ‘intersections.’ The first, Miniramp Intersection, presents two functioning mini ramps on the terrace roof of the pavilion. The ramps, used for skateboarding, BMX riding and rollerblading, etc., have been unusually configured to cross one another. Participants must either synchronise their movements or violently collide. The sculpture functions as a stage for negotiating potential conflict.

A second sculpture, Triumph Daytona Intersection, features a British-designed Triumph sports motorcycle meticulously lodged into a wall. Gladwell employs a postpop logic in offering machinery that is highly fetishised by motorcyclists, who continue to differentiate themselves through the consumption of specific brands.

The artist extends his interest in the genre of landscape and notions of the contemporary sublime through the large-scale video projection BMX Channel. The Welsh rider Matti Hemmings performs a technical style of BMX riding known as ‘flatland.’ Hemmings’s intricate and balletic manoeuvres are seen in slow motion and framed by an Edwardian colonnade—a structure located within sight of the video installation.

Historical models of practice and thought are not merely updated through Gladwell’s use of contemporary extreme sports. Rather, the two worlds cross-infect each other. In assessing the ramp, skateboarders and BMX riders must also engage with a contemporary art object and consequently complete the work through their participation.

Shaun Gladwell (b. 1972, Sydney) lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include Broken Dance (Beatboxed), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2012); Perpetual 360° Sessions, SCHUNCK*, The Netherlands (2011); Shaun Gladwell: Matrix 162, Wadsworth Athenaeum, USA (2011); Stereo Sequences, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (2011); MADDESTMAXIMVS: Planet & Stars Sequence, Australian Pavilion, 53rd Venice Biennale, Italy (2009); Shaun Gladwell, University of California, San Diego, USA (2008); In a Station of the Metro, Artspace, Australia (2008), and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Centre, Buffalo, New York (2006).

Shaun Gladwell is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery Australia.

De La Warr Pavilion
Bexhill on Sea East Sussex

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