Turning and spinning are themes that Sean Gladwell’s art revolves around; as in his video Storm Sequence where he spins around on his skateboard. So it is not surprising that his VR art, Reversed Readymade makes heads turn.
In fact you can turn a full 360 degrees in a VR of an actual warehouse studio while seated in an office chair. It makes you feel very much in control of the VR experience, even if you are stuck in one spot, because you can turn your back on things.
Gladwell’s Reversed Readymade is a beautiful use of VR technology with a big reference to Marcel Duchamp. This is both the most direct and complete Duchamp reference that I have ever seen (I did my Master’s thesis on Duchamp so I have seen a lot). Gladwell takes Marcel Duchamp’s first readymade, Bicycle Wheel and makes it his own.
Gladwell actually makes it his own, making his own bicycle wheel mounted on a stool and then rides it around, spinning around in a circle in the studio. The six minute VR experience depicts this along with some bicycle riding.
Marcel Duchamp had the idea of a reverse readymade. It was a reciprocal arrangement to his readymades, where an existing work of art would be used as an ordinary object. “A Rembrandt used as an ironing board” was Duchamp’s suggestion but Bicycle Wheel is more deserving. It also works better for Gladwell who has more experience with wheels than domestic appliances.
Nor should we forget Duchamp’s interest in optical and mechanical art and that the bicycle wheel was his first attempt at optical art. Duchamp made Bicycle Wheel, in part, to be able to watch the pattern of shadows from a spinning spokes for more than a few seconds.
I’d like to think that Duchamp would have been very impressed with Gladwell’s work for its visual, optical and conceptual elements; he would have also probably felt a bit dizzy from the VR experience, I was.
Sean Gladwell’s Reversed Readymade 2016 is part of the Basil Sellers Art Prize exhibition at the Ian Potter Museum of Art at Melbourne University.
+ The public loves yarn bombing.
+ Community festivals love yarn bombing.
+ Craft stores love yarn bombing and support it – Spotlight was promoting yarn bombing groups via Facebook in December 2011.
+ The media love yarn bombing. (Are you starting to worry now?) After years of hating the male dominated graffiti the media view of yarn bombing is completely different. Is it just a gender issue?
+ Yarn bombing reaches the parts that other street art can’t touch. An aerosol artist wants a big wall, a stencil artist or wheat-paster wants a bit of wall but yarn bombers aren’t competing for wall space.
+ Yarn bombing can be seen as a sculptural textile work, using readymade and already installed poles in the street as the support for fabric sculptures, like a street version of the knitted sculptures of Dorathea Tanning or Eva Hesse Hang Up, 1966. Or it can be seen as craft.
+ Anarchic women knitting anywhere they like – it is the end of the civilization as we know it?!? (This instantly brings to mind scenes from the French Revolution of women knitting at the guillotine.) Now that women my age are yarn bombing civilization as we know it is coming to an end.
+ What is connection between yarn bombing and bicycles? Bicycle racks are yarn bombers favourite targets. If you don’t believe me see the post by Art Hunter of SA and Vetti Lives in Northcote’s Yarn Bomb Bicycle. Or is it like Twilight Taggers wrote on Facebook: “Just another thing to cover.”
+ Land of Sunshine, Yarn Bombing Brunswick and Part Two.
+ There is no commercial potential in yarn bombing. When it is off the street it is just more craft knitting.
A century ago the bicycle was the symbol of modern freedom and independence and it was also represented in the visual arts. Catalan artist Ramon Casas in 1897 painted a portrait of himself and fellow artist Pere Romeu on a tandem bicycle. In 1913 Umberto Boccioni painted ‘Dynamism of a Cyclist’ and Marcel Duchamp created his first readymade with a bicycle wheel mounted upside down on a stool.
A hundred years later, for environmental and economic reasons, there is resurgence in the popularity of the bicycle. For over a year I have been looking for contemporary art about bicycles but I haven’t seen much until today (I did hear about the Bicycle Film Festival in Melbourne in 2007). Today I wandered into 1000 Pound Bend to see the visual arts program of Melbourne Bike Fest.
Circular Cycle at Melbourne Bike Fest
Part of Melbourne Bike Fest’s visual arts program was a small exhibition of prints, drawings and paintings on one wall. Amongst the works was a woodblock print by Tom Civil of figures riding bicycles, a smaller version of the stencil backdrop to the stage. I noticed that there were works by other street artists, like SnotRag who did three portraits of bicycle related injuries. In another corner there was a confessional style booth for telling and listening to “Bike Story”. But I was most interested in the Circular Bike and Matt Benn’s “Improbable Bikes” as these were such fun as sculptures. These bicycles as sculptures suggest way of life – imagine riding one of them.
Matt Benn Improbable Bike
Matt Benn Improbable Cycle
I ride a bicycle so I am biased in my interest in bicycles in art. For more on bicycle art see Bikejuju section on bike art.
Street art is not just aerosol art; the idea of street art has created so many more possibilities: memorials, drawings and sculpture.
The temporary memorials to traffic accident victims, the flowers, messages, photographs taped to poles, that appear at the site of the accident are another form of street art. Nobody complains about this type of street art; there is still respect for the dead.
Geoff Dyer’s article in the The Guardian Weekly (6/6) made me aware that with the ghostbike project. These street art memorials have become type of political street art in the USA and Canada. A white ghost bike chained to a location with a sign as a reminder that a cyclist was killed at this spot. This is an excellent street art project as it goes to core elements in traditional art, the memorial, and street art, political content. And, as a bicycle rider, myself, I believe it is a very important message.
There are a lot of beautiful things to see on the street. Maxcat has drawn on a vacant white billboard on Sydney Rd. north of Bell St. showing that a simple black marker pen can create beautiful work. Maxcat’s innovative use of lines and the sense of poetry with the bird on the figures head reminded me of Picasso. Not that the drawing is a copy or imitation, but the bold, confident and yet whimsical lines of this drawing are similar.
And there is Crateman, Melbourne’s best street art sculptor who creates figures using the ubiquitous plastic milk-crates. I have seen his work on the Williamstown line and on a rooftop in Richmond but I have been told that there have been other figures in other locations.
On a slightly different topic, the Melbourne Stencil Festival will be on August 1st to 10th. I have volunteered to help hang the exhibition and do a few other things. Last night I meet up with Coop and other volunteers for pizza and drinks. The range of ages and backgrounds of people volunteering to help at the festival surprised me; the volunteers are not just street artists. If you want to become more involved and volunteer just contact the festival (and you will probably end up in contact with me as I am coordinating the volunteers).