Shaun Gladwell



As a kind of coda to my recent posts I wanted to put something up online about the stunning Shaun Gladwell show at the De La Warr Pavilion.  Let me put my cards on the table I’m pretty sceptical about a great deal of video art.  There are some artists whose work in the medium almost always excites me – Bill Viola, Sherin Neshat, Anri Sala and the truly marvellous David Claerbout can usually be relied upon to say interesting things and occasionally move me profoundly – but there’s a lot that doesn’t.  However Gladwell’s work in Bexhill is really interesting and as a show it comes up trumps.  In his work the mix of source material really comes alive and like all great work it relies on simple conjunctions of imagery and ideas marvellously executed so that nothing gets in the way of the viewer making her or his own connections to bring out the poetry. The celebration of an artist whose output is pretty much always connected to aspects of youth culture in a venue that I suspect is often frequented primarily by the ‘blue rinse’ brigade (and in saying this I acknowledge that I may be doing both venue and audience a crass disservice) is also something both amusing and uplifting.  Each of the main works on show also owed something to the locale…



My favourite was this piece – Jack in the Green (Lambretta-AGS 195 to Triumph-GVL2MXD). In this work he combined his long term passion for motorbikes with local legend and celebration and a nod towards the Mods & Rockers confrontations in the 60’s along the south coast all shot on location in Winchelsea, just along the coast from Bexhill.  In places it powerfully reminded me of his piece in the Australian Pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale…which it you haven’t seen it I urge you to!