Virtual Imperator, Edge of Empire: Shaun Gladwell 2017 - ExhibitionAustralian Centre for Photography
An exhibition of photographic, moving image and VR works by Shaun Gladwell critically addressing the ambivalence of representing conflict and the historical persistence of imperial structures.
In this exhibition, leading Australian artist Shaun Gladwell continues to interrogate the role of the camera and the artist in the representation of warfare. Assembling existing and new works, the artist meditates on the ambivalence and complexities of depicting conflict and addresses the continuity of Empires across real and mythological times.
Drawing parallels between the photographs he made in the Middle East as an Official War artist and his father’s photographic memories of the Vietnam War, Gladwell attempts to outline a transhistorical view of war across generations and places. Gladwell’s video and virtual reality works expand the critical framework to consider the role of technology and surveillance strategies in contemporary warfare whilst suggesting the multiple physical and psychological dimensions in which conflicts operate.
Inspired by American poet Charles Olson, Gladwell also draws references from Mad Max to the Roman Empire in his epic letters to Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning. In the centre of the gallery, between the walls of a cell-like space, the artist questions the notion of hero and legitimacy of interventionism that underpin the concept of war.
While Virtual Imperator - Edge of Empire draws on a strong theoretical framework, it also proposes a highly personal approach to the subject matter to delineates a complex array of forms and ideas associated with our understanding of warfare.
Read Dr Bill Schaffer's in-depth essay Guns and Soap: Shaun Gladwell's Virtual Imperator - Edge of Empire
ACP Project Space Gallery, 17 March - 6 May 2017
Field Injury Simulations, 2017.
Courtesy © the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery.