The Lacrima Chair

Art Life , Exhibitions Mar 09, 2015 No Comments

em>From Sharne Wolff

There’s a Qantas A380 aeroplane that boasts its own Facebook page. The plane, named after pioneer Australian female aviator Nancy-Bird Walton, is best known for travelling the ‘kangaroo route’ from Sydney to London by its usual flight number – QF1. What’s the relevance, you’re thinking? Well, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF) is currently hosting Shaun Gladwell’s homecoming Projects 24 and 25 across two Sydney sites. Gladwell, who still holds the record for Australia’s highest selling video work at auction [from Sotheby’s 2007 sale of Storm Sequence], has been resident in London for several years. Aside from having covertly filmed one of his new performance videos aboard QF1, both The Lacrima Chair and Collection+ are intimately connected to the artist’s enduring interest in flight.


The video – a tribute to the woman Nancy-Bird Walton – forms just one part of the former exhibition. Another aspect of the newly commissioned installation at SCAF is a chair sculpture modelled on an economy size airline seat. ‘Lacrima’ is a word that means tear (from the eye). Fascinated by the melding of public and private space on long haul plane trips, and aided by a mist curtain and a series of running water pipes that act as metaphors for crying, Gladwell explores this emotive territory. Not far away, Collection+ is the first solo show at UNSW Galleries, Gladwell’s alma mater. A survey (but apparently not a retrospective) of Gladwell’s past output includes around twenty works, including a selection of the artist’s well-known videos in large format display.

Until April 25
Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Paddington


UNSW Art and Design Galleries, Paddington

Pic: Shaun Gladwell, A Portrait of NancyBird Walton, 2015 Single-channel HD video, 16:9, colour, silent. Commissioned by Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation.

Sharne Wolff

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