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Patafunctions is an experimental text by Australian contemporary artist, Shaun Gladwell. It was published in association with Gladwell's exhibition titled The Lacrimal Chair (curated by Barbara Polla and Paul Ardenne) at the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney, in 2015.
Patafunctions interrogates the strategy of artistic and conceptual appropriation. Following the exhibition of the publication Semiotext(e) as an art object during the 2014 Whitney Biennale, Gladwell’s text directly appropriates the graphic and literary style of these seminal works, in particular that of the Foreign Agents Series of the 1980s. The simulation of the Semiotext(e) format is enacted down to the publishing attributions on the internal cover of the book, this illusion enhanced by the participation of Paul Patton (a recognised translator from the original Semiotext(e) series). The success of the resulting simulation can be seen in the National Library of Australia's official attribution of the text to the original Semiotext(e) publishing house, its database entry conflating the Patafunctions cover image with that of Jean Baudrillard's text Simulations (1983).
The text continues Gladwell's ongoing artistic interest into the technique of appropriation. Patafunctions develops upon previous investigations by the artist, for example in his earlier work Pataphysical Man (2005), the title of this work being an appropriation of Imants Tillers' earlier painting Pataphysical Man (1984). Gladwell's reference to Imants Tillers, who is often identified as Australia’s foremost postmodern painter and exponent of appropriation art, embeds his work within a lineage of appropriation in which Tillers’ draws from Giorgio de Chirico’s The Archeologist (L'archeologo) (1927).
- Gladwell’s profile on the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia website: http://www.mca.com.au/collection/artist/gladwell-shaun/, retrieved 12 April 2016
- Professor Paul Ardenne’s curatorial profile can be found here: http://www.fondation-entreprise-ricard.com/en/Curators/view/32-Paul-Ardenne , retrieved 12 April 2016
- The Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation website can be found here : http://sherman-scaf.org.au/ , retrieved 12 April 2016
- The online catalogue entry for Semiotext(e) in the 2014 Whitney Biennale can be found here: http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/2014Biennial/Semiotexte , retrieved 12 April 2016
- Information about the Semiotext(e) series of publications can be found here: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/series/semiotexte , retrieved 12 April 2016
- The original cover for Baudrillard’s Simulations(1981) translated by Paul Foss, Paul Patton and Philip Beitchman can be viewed here: http://avidreader.com.au/products/simulations , retrieved 12 April 2016
- The National Library of Australia entry for Patafunctions can be found here: http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/193468261?q=patafunctions+&c=book&versionId=211888816 , retrieved 12 April 2016
- Experimenta’s entry for Gladwell’s The Pataphysical Man can be found here: http://www.experimenta.org/cms//vanishingpoint/gladwell.htm , retrieved 12 April 2016
- The Art Gallery of New South Wales’ entry for Tillers’ The Pataphysical Man can be found here: http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/1.1985.a-lllllll/ , retrieved 12 April 2016
- Information regarding De Chirico’s The Archeologist can be found here: http://www.fondazionedechirico.org/casa-museo/opere-esposte/gli-archeologi/?lang=en , retrieved 12 April 2016 n be found here: ng De Chiricohere: nce, Atafunctions iteny Biennale can be found here: porary arts mentioned, or use italic
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