Representing Australia: Shaun Gladwell at the 2009 Venice Biennale

By Aija Laura Zivitere.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines the issues of representation and non-
representation in the art of Shaun Gladwell by focusing on
the works presented in the Australian pavilion project at
the 2009 Venice Biennale.

Drawing on the texts of Gilles Deleuze, it analyses Gladwell’s strategies of breaking open the traditional tripartite discourse consisting of a field of reality (“the world”), a field of representation (“the image”), and a field of subjectivity (“the author”). While this tripartite structure is still referential, especially in the context of the Venice Biennale with its national pavilions, Gladwell’s strategies toward experimentation in contact with the real and his stressing the performance aspect point to the ways the representational models can be incorporated into non-representational artistic assemblages.

Titling the whole Australian pavilion project MADDESTMAXIMVS and putting the V8 Interceptor car from the Mad Max films in front of the Australian pavilion, Gladwell overturns the representational model of Max’s Australianness, since parking a car in Venice, a city without vehicular roads, is quite dysfunctional. Similarly, by incorporating references to Galileo Galilei and Venice’s history into this project, Gladwell demonstrates that representational models are in perpetual construction and collapse, showing processes of breaking off and starting again. By focusing on Gladwell’s chosen Australian material and issues on the one hand, and his references that are relevant to an international audience on the other, this paper explores the way Gladwell uses the three fields of the representational structure, i.e. putting them perpendicularly and surfing the transverse surfaces of all three.

Keywords: Art, Australia, Gilles Deleuze, Representation, Shaun Gladwell, Venice Biennale

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.145-152. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 588.681KB).

Aija Laura Zivitere

Lecturer, Department of Culture and Design, Information Systems Management Institute, Riga, Latvia

Aija Laura Zivitere is a Researcher and Lecturer in Research Methods at the Information Systems Management Institute in Riga, Latvia. Currently she is working on her doctoral dissertation on Ai Weiwei. Since 2006 she has been involved in a research project about auteur cinema on the one hand, and cinema made by artists on the other. She previously studied music theory and history and has worked as a music producer, assistant film director and music and film critic.


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