BMX Channel, 2013 / HD Video
In the Project Room, Mark Moore Gallery proudly presents "BMX Channel" (2013), a large-scale video projection by Australian artist Shaun Gladwell. Set within a picturesque British seaside, this single-channel work demonstrates the artist’s signature uses of filmic devices such as slow motion and long pans to capture both a tightly choreographed and improvised performance. Described by the artist as “performance landscapes” Gladwell’s videos present a juxtaposition of culturally specific athleticism against a visually discursive environment.
In "BMX Channel," Welsh bicyclist Matti Hemmings performs a technical style of BMX riding known as "flatland" – which is defined by stylized break-dance-like movement on flat surfaces. The physical virtuosity of the rider recalls the street performers of the beaches of Southern California, where freestyle BMX was born. However, the swaying Union Jack and Edwardian colonnade that frame the scene defines the land we see in the video as the South East Coast of the U.K., where flatland BMX has thrived. Hemmings’ intricate and balletic maneuvers are dwarfed by the ethereal haze of the surrounding English Channel. An ambient electronic soundtrack by Kazumichi Grime intensifies the cinematic scene, which fluctuates from an atmospheric panorama to a formal study of athletic prowess. Adding to the video's mystic qualities is the vanishing horizon line, the consuming mist, and the gracefulness of Hemmings' BMX riding. The resulting work is surprisingly hypnotic and beautifully poetic, due to its distortion of speed and overall displacement of space and time. Within this formal context, the video is an extension of Gladwell’s interest in the genre of landscape and notions of the contemporary sublime.
Shaun Gladwell (b.1972, Australia) is based in Sydney and London. 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. Shaun Gladwell represented Australia at the 53rd Venice Biennale and traveled 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, CT; 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.