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.
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