Published on the occasion of the 2009 Venice Biennale, MADDESTMAXIMVS: PLANET & STARS SEQUENCE is a project, book and catalogue documenting a new major body of work by Shaun Gladwell. The publication maps the project in its entirety. Commencing in 2007, MADDESTMAXIMVS has continued with a series of recorded performances and sculptures that investigate representations of landscape and the mythological figures that are projected into these spaces. Gladwell’s installation in the Australian Pavilion in Venice comprised of several projects intersecting one another in various locations and performances. Rather than picturing landscapes, Gladwell’s project questions the very history and representation of these locations. Introduced with local references, the project offers international identification and relevance. Through performance, Gladwell re-imagines the Australian hinterland, negotiating the conventions of art history and traditional landscape painting.
This meditative investigation articulates Gladwell's discursive approach to contemporary art and structures the project as a free, contemplative space. Roadkill kangaroos are found on the side of highways by a black-leather-clad motorcyclist and given a ritualistic burial; a figure surfs a vehicle as it moves through desert roads; a masked individual rapidly paints and subsequently erases images of the/a universe in open arid settings; and a group of figures spin against natural rock formations.
With over one hundred colour plates and two in-depth texts – by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev and Dr Blair French – MADDESTMAXIMVS: PLANET & STARS SEQUENCE is the first comprehensive publication of Shaun Gladwell’s multi-dimensional practice.