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Shaun Gladwell

Skateboarders Vs. Minimalism


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Shaun Gladwell
Skateboarders Vs. Minimalism
23 min
Format & Technical

Three Channels. HD video, colour, sound
Edition of 3

  • Music: Philip Glass and Kasumichi Grime
  • Postproduction: Greg Ferris
  • Production support: Vernon Guest
  • Focus Puller: Jeanna Kim
  • Lighting/Grips: Shawn Anderson
  • Artwork Fabrication: Leigh Russel and Colin Roberts
  • Photography: Judd Overton
  • Cast: Rodney Mullen, Hilary Thompson & Jesus Esteban
  • Commissioned by: Catriona and Simon Mordant AM
  • Special Thanks: Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles

This video by Gladwell is a conceptual group-self-portrait of skateboarders and sculptors in which the museum transforms into a skate park and the body into a tool to be used. Art is the transformer.

The project is a conceptual group-self-portrait of skateboarders and sculptors, two radical “species” to which Shaun Gladwell not only feels to belong – but whom he actually is: both a skateboarder and a sculptor.

Skateboarders Vs. Minimalism features the world’s best freestyle skater Rodney Mullen, together with North Carolina based Hillary Thompson (the first openly transgender professional skateboarder) and Jesus Esteban, while the sound is composed by the American composer Philip Glass. The video takes place within a museum environment, as the artist states that “the streets are our museums”. For Gladwell, “minimalism offers such great forms for skateboarders to ride on. It is a formal issue. The forms are simple and clean – perfect for skateboarding.”

The presence of a transgender skateboarder is also an important aspect of the work. There is a trend, in American and Australian youth, to escape gender, to allow oneself to transition between one gender and another, to “trans-form”. This video is also about transformation. The materials of the sculptures used are industrial but get transformed here into something more, something to ride on. The skateboarders themselves transform into something else – their body is a tool to be used. And art is the transformer.


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