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Skateboarders vs Minimalism | Shaun Gladwell


Skateboards vs. Minimalism
Photo still from film Skateboarders vs Minimalism, courtesy of Simon Mordant AM and Catriona Mordant AM

This video by Australian artist Shaun Gladwell is a conceptual group-self-portrait of skateboarders and sculptors in which a museum setting transforms into a skate park and the body into a tool to be used. The project is a conceptual group-self-portrait of skateboarders and sculptors, two radical “species” to which Shaun Gladwell not only feels to belong—but who he actually is: both a skateboarder and a sculptor.

Skateboarders vs. Minimalism features the world’s best freestyle skater Rodney Mullen, together with North Carolina-based Hillary Thompson (the first openly transgender professional skateboarder) and colleague Jesus Esteban, with sound composed by American composer Philip Glass. The video takes place within a museum environment, as the artist states that “the streets are our museums.”

For Gladwell, “minimalism offers such great forms for skateboarders to ride on. It is a formal issue. The forms are simple and clean—perfect for skateboarding.”

These performances are part of TIME BEING, our inaugural festival of performance taking place during opening weekend.

About Shaun Gladwell

Shaun Gladwell’s (Melbourne, Australia) practice engages personal experience and a wider speculation of art history to examine the dynamics of contemporary culture. Gladwell transposes forms of urban expression such as skateboarding, graffiti, BMX bicycle riding, break-dancing, and extreme sports into the multiple mediums of his practice. These performances, videos, paintings, photographs, sculptures and virtual reality works make discursive investigations into forms of creativity and notions of freedom.

In his video works, Gladwell draws links between historical and contemporary models of the body in space, proposing a lineage between the flâneur and contemporary cultural figures such as skateboarders, free-runners 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, architectural features, and projection surfaces.

Public collections include the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Orange County Museum of Art, California; and Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford. Gladwell’s works can also be found in corporate and private collections in Australia, Asia, the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States.