Approach to Mundi Mundi

by Gladwell, Shaun

2007 Silent

Figuring Landscapes

A leather-clad biker greets the sun, arms outstretched in a Christ-like posture. This symbolic embrace of nature tempers outback brigand-machismo while the two-wheeled technological toy gleams its enticements of freedom and the open road.

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Gladwell’s exploration of the possibility that romantic dimensions persist within contem-porary life has often touched on references to art history, as well as the body and its relationship to urban environments. Here Gladwell uses a split screen to develop two viewpoints of a solitary, black-leather-clad motorbike rider driving down the broken centre-line of an outback Australian road. Arms outstretched, the Christ-like subject references both child (‘look at me, Mum, no hands!’) and the male anti-hero of so many road movies. Here the sublime immensity of the landscape acts as a backdrop to the rider whilst simultaneously engulfing him. Pat Hoffie The line Gladwell is treading is the fine line between landscape as a site of play and land¬scape as a site for machismo.Yet the athleticism of the Australian male is transformed into something oddly delicate – landscape as an adventure sport, but, conversely, ad¬venture sport as a graceful pas de deux with the elements. Eu Jin Chua, 2008


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