Skaters vs Minimalismo
6th July – 27th August 2017
Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno
For his solo exhibition at Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno (CAAM) in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Shaun Gladwell (b. Sydney, lives London) presents a survey of recent works. Gladwell is known internationally for his works in virtual reality, performance and video that engage urban cultures, such as skateboarding and freestyle BMX. These activities are presented within a unique language that conflates urban activities with the history of art, culture and museums.
The exhibition, ‘Skaters vs Minimalismo’, is made up of a virtual reality work, the three-channel video, Skateboarders vs Minimalism (2016) and a diptych, Untitled (2016), consisting of two skateboards painted by the artist.
The exhibition also incorporates designs for skateboarders made by four creators residing in Gran Canaria – Carmelo García Cabrera, Palma Edith Christian Martínez, Francisco Javier Ramírez Castro and Jil-Laura Kloberg – which were selected through a public competition, for display in this exhibition.
One of the outstanding elements of the project is a skateboarding ramp designed by Shaun Gladwell expressly for the two patios of CAAM, attached to the galleries. The ramp can be used for skateboarding from 5 – 9 pm, during the period of the exhibition, and will be activated by the artist for the opening events.
Shaun Gladwell has said of the video installation: “Skateboards vs Minimalism is a project where I operate as much as a curator as I do an artist. I bring three of my favourite skateboarders into a direct relationship with several of my favourite artists from the school of minimalist sculpture.
The skateboarders Jesus Esteban, Hillary Thompson and Rodney Mullen come up against the likes of Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Tony Smith and Ellsworth Kelly. The project looked at the dynamic between artists and skateboarders, and particularly the forms in which skateboarders use. Often the work from the late 60s within the school of minimalism has a striking resemblance to objects that are used for skateboarding in skateparks. The skatepark objects are usually generic, simplified and abbreviated forms within the urban landscape, so the skateboarders would be very well trained even before getting into the project, in which they skateboard on replica minimalist artworks.
The project is playful in its irreverent relationship to value in art and also seeks to celebrate the value of use over that of exchange or assigned value. The project uses music by Philip Glass as he was the musical equivalent to the forms in which my favourite skateboarders launch into action on the sculptures. Again the project is a part of a longer series of works and research, which do not make the distinction between artists and athletes.”