Shaun Gladwell is among the best-known Australian artists; his art critically involves personal experience and wide-ranging speculation about art history and the dynamics of contemporary culture through performance, video, painting, photography, and sculpture.

His work is developed through the use of urban expressive forms such as skateboarding, hip-hop, graffiti, BMX riding, break dancing, and extreme sports. His video projects are based on the study of the human body inside space, with clear references to the art of the past. The subjects of his works are often contemporary cultural figures such as skateboarders, motocross riders, freestyle BMX riders, graffiti artists, free-runners, and other performers.

His investigations of space have led Gladwell to progressively grapple with different video formats, to experiment with multi-channels, and to use architectural surfaces as areas for screening.

This Australian artist’s work also places side by side various art genres of the past (for example, the Sublime or representations of Romantic panoramas) and more recent cultural or institutional trends, such as skateboarding or break-dancing.

However, his art language aims neither at updating nor at reclaiming traditional art models. On the contrary, these two trends contaminate each other and raise to the level of “art” street performances or the various sub-cultural activities of the city outskirts.

In his BMX Channel video, Shaun Gladwell extends his interests to landscape and to the idea of the “contemporary Sublime”. The Scottish cyclist, Matti Hemmings, was the inventor of a particular way of riding BMX bikes, known as “flatland”. The intricate and dance-like maneuvers of Hemmings are seen in slow motion and framed by an Edwardian colonnade – a structure set inside the video installation. The Union Jack has a central role in the composition. This flag clearly identifies the landscape we see in the video as “British”. Below the cyclist is the English Channel and beyond it France – fog blurs the horizon line between the sea and the sky.

The electronic-ambient soundtrack offers a musical interpretation of the spatial elements that characterize the performance, such as the fading of the horizon, the fog, and the grace of Hemmings’ BMX gyrations.