Australian contemporary artist, Shaun Gladwell, shares Jagger’s appreciation for the horse as a symbol for an emotional force to be reckoned with, and is now bringing his fascination with the galloping creature to the Tel Aviv Museum in an exhibition titled 1,000 Horses.
Gladwell, who works with mediums such as moving image, photography, installation and virtual reality, explores the historic connection that the elegant and mythicized animal has with the story of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the region.
As both Israel and Australia mark a centennial to the Battle of Beersheba, which was fought between the Allied Forces and the 4th and 12th Australian Light Horse Brigades against the Ottoman Empire, the artist sheds a light on the significant role the Australian-reared and trained horses had on the defeat of the empire, which in turn led to the rise of the British rule of Palestine.
Gladwell’s works depict images of the horse life cycle, taken both in the southern Israeli Negev Desert and Down Under. The Waler horse – the same breed that was used by the Australian mounted troops in the famous battle – is seen in his photographs against the backdrops of monuments erected in memory of the momentous offensive.
Projected in videos and through virtual reality glasses, Gladwell’s horses seem to be both tame and glorious, synonymous with the virility they symbolize and yet same battle-worn. Beautiful and bald, their eyes gaze ahead, evoking questions about the sights they have witnessed, the men who rode them and the lands they traveled through.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Joseph Syzdlowsky Conference Hall. Exhibition runs through March 3, 2018.