About the Artwork
The artist Shaun Gladwell often portrays isolated figures, undertaking choreographed acts like skateboarding or breakdancing. Located within urban and natural symbolically significant sites, his work articulates a relationship between the performer’s body and its immediate environment through slowed motion, often redefining the prescribed function of objects and spaces.
Storm Sequence is Gladwell’s seminal work and depicts him skateboarding on the edge of a concrete drop at Sydney’s Bondi Beach. Gladwell – a prolific and skilful free-style skateboarder – pirouettes and spins within a contained space. Incorporating an organic, liquid-like soundtrack by Sydney composer Kazumuchi Grime, the footage is slowed down and movement, which in real time would have a jerky rhythm, becomes graceful, emphasising the relationship between the skater and the environment. As a storm approaches on the horizon, Gladwell continues to skate as the sky turns black until eventually the rain becomes too heavy for him to continue.
Storm Sequence is a deceptively simple work – it depicts a solitary action in an unadorned space. The camera hardly moves and concentrates only on the artist’s movements. The strange, poetic intervention of the natural world, combined with the well-known nature of the place where it is performed, creates a compelling and mesmeric work. The importance of Storm Sequence lies in the pivotal role it has played in the reception, exhibition and acceptance of moving image as an art form in this country. This work is an important cornerstone in the MCA’s Collection.
Glenn Barkley (curator), Statement of significance, object file note, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2011
– About the artist
Shaun Gladwell is an Australian-born, London-based artist. He completed Associate Research at Goldsmiths College, London in 2001 and has since undertaken numerous international residencies and commissions. He has exhibited prodigiously in Europe, North and South America, and in the Asia Pacific Region.
In 2011, Gladwell had major survey exhibitions at the SCHUNCK* museum in Heerlen, The Netherlands and at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Connecticut, USA as part of the Matrix Exhibition Series. His exhibition, Shaun Gladwell: Stereo Sequences, at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne was the first in a series of major commissions by the institution. He also held a solo exhibition, Riding with Death: Redux at Anna Schwartz Gallery, Sydney. His work featured in significant group exhibitions, including: The Power of Doubt, curated by Hou Hanru, Museo Colecciones ICO, Madrid, 2011; Paradise Lost, Istanbul Museum of Art, 2011; Southern Panoramas, 17th International Contemporary Art Festival SESC_Videobrasil, Sao Paolo, Brazil, 2011; and the John Kaldor Family Collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2011.
Shaun Gladwell represented Australia at the 53rd Venice Biennale and travelled to Afghanistan as the official Australian War Artist in 2009. His work is held in significant public and private collections nationally and internationally, including: Wadsworth Atheneum, USA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the Progressive Art Collection, USA; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.