Australian-born, London-based artist Shaun Gladwell has a list of achievements to his name that would be the envy of most artists his age. He has represented Australia at the Venice Biennale, travelled to Afghanistan as an official war artist, holds the record for a work of video art sold at auction in Australia, and has had his work exhibited all over the world.
Another milestone in Gladwell’s epic career is about to take place in England on the 2nd of February when the largest solo exhibition of his work in the UK to date opens at the De La Warr Pavilion in East Sussex. Consisting entirely of new work commissioned by the De La Warr Pavilion, “Shaun Gladwell: Cycles of Radical Will” features new films that explore his fascination with local sub-cultures as well as a spectacular rooftop installation in the form of a skate ramp.
For “Cycles of Radical Will,” Gladwell speculates on the creative conflict within various cultural practices and traditions. In recognition of his interest in the way people perceive space and time, the exhibition will not be a static display but will embrace flux and transformation, reflecting the changing seasons over its course. Over five months, works are exchanged to offer a sequence of windows into Gladwell’s artistic practice, unconstrained by the limitations of a single exhibition project.
The video installations that Gladwell is best known for will be a major component of the exhibition. In a further development of his interest in cinema, works for the draw upon references from an array of films including Robin Hardy's 1973 cult classic “The Wicker Man” and Sam Raimi's 1981 horror film “Evil Dead”. The exhibition also extends the artist's interest in mythological figures and cultural stories, this time drawing upon those specific to the local area such as the “spring” figure of Jack-in-the-Green.
One of the highlights of the exhibition, “Mini Ramp Intersection” (2013), will function as a skate ramp and encourage its users either to joust with one other or calculate their movements to avoid a crash. This work, along with an extensive programme of events, will allow audiences to participate on numerous levels throughout the exhibition.
“Shaun Gladwell: Cycles of Radical Will” opens at the De La Warr Pavilion on the 2nd of February 2013 and will continue until the 23rd of June 2013. The exhibition will be accompanied by a major publication, the most comprehensive monograph on the artist's work to date. The publication is made possible with the support of the Australia Council for the Arts.