Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Shaun Gladwell: Stereo Sequences world premiere
Shaun Gladwell with Track and Trials
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) Director Tony Sweeney last night opened Shaun Gladwell: Stereo Sequences, a major new commission of works by the London-based Australian artist, Shaun Gladwell, on until 14 August, 2011.
"Shaun Gladwell has an enviable international reputation as one of Australia's leading video artists and we are thrilled to be presenting his latest stunning series of works," said Tony. "This significant new commission reflects our strong commitment to supporting Australian artists, both established and emerging, and the ongoing development of contemporary moving image art practice in this country."
Shaun Gladwell: Stereo Sequences was conceived and created for ACMI's unique subterranean gallery and features a series of multi-screen video works that explore concepts of duality, parallels and mirroring.
Using filmic devices such as long pans and slow-motion, Gladwell captures tightly choreographed, repetitive performances by classical ballerinas, helicopters, motorcycles, muscle cars, trials bike-riders and skateboarders. Gladwell's latest offerings radiate a distinct Australian sensibility, inspired by our unique landscape and local film culture, including Ozploitation era films.
Many of the works are set in distinct Australian locations such as the Wollemi National Park, the open plains of Broken Hill, the lapping shoreline of Bondi and even Sydney's M5 underpass, each landscape a central character in the resulting work.
In attendance for the opening, Shaun said; "this new body of work is the result of pushing my ideas of representation and performance and locating them within spectacular Australian landscapes. ACMI's commission is the largest I've undertaken and I'm grateful to have the opportunity."
Mr Sweeney also noted the exhibition is the first to open in ACMI's Horizons: The ACMI Commissions Series.
"Not only is our new exhibition the result of our biggest commissioning of a single artist, it launches our new commissions series, Horizons," he said.
"I'm thrilled to reinforce our commitment by ACMI to supporting the presentation of new works by leading Australian and international contemporary artists in our exhibition spaces. Our vision is that these exhibitions conceived and presented through the commission's series, will provide unique opportunities for audiences to experience a new wealth of contemporary art right here in Melbourne."
Since bursting onto the contemporary art scene in 2000, Gladwell has gained international recognition for his evocative large-scale video works, photographs and sculptures combining contemporary phenomena with conventions in Art History and traditional landscape painting. His artworks reveal a wide range of inspirations, from Leonardo da Vinci, the German Romantic landscape tradition and American conceptual artist Dan Graham, through to Australian cinematic icons and youth cultures.
Despite his broad inspirations, the moving image remains pivotal to Gladwell's practice. From his breakout video Storm Sequence (2000) - a meditative single channel video of the artist skateboarding freestyle against the stormy Turner-esque backdrop of Bondi beach - to his Mad Max-inspired installation as Australia's representative at the 2009 Venice Biennale, MADDESTMAXIMVS (2009), Gladwell continues to create compelling video and moving image installations that also serve as mediations on the nature, themes and possibilities of the medium.
In 2009 he was the Australian War Memorial's official war artist, assigned to the Australian Defence Force in Afghanistan and in the Middle East.
A series of public and education programs has been developed to coincide with the exhibition. Among these, a talk by the artist (Saturday 11 June) and a talk by curator Sarah Tutton, as well as a talks series, Mapping Terrain, featuring artists and arts professionals focusing on the many ways landscape is depicted and manipulated through art. In addition, ACMI will present workshops for teenagers, screen a series of skateboarding films and turn the Video Garden into a homage to the world of skateboards, balance boards, BMX and roller skating.
The international premiere of Shaun Gladwell: Stereo Sequences is exclusive to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Federation Square, Melbourne) and shows from Wednesday 1 June to Sunday 14 August, 2011.
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ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne
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