Sean Grattan

b. 1981

"Sean Grattan works primarily with digital video, utilising cinematic devices to frame performances that privilege the exchange of ideas over emotionally driven narrative. Early work was largely free of dialogue, devised around uncomplicated elements and procedures that deconstructed plot-oriented action, challenging dominant conceptions of productivity and progress. With later work, script writing emerged as the foundation for Grattan’s videos, a process wherein academic research is merged with language and behaviours drawn from Western society and pop culture. The result is an analytical hybrid of theoretical discourse and conventional dramatic dialogue, a quasi-scholarly argument set within a movie-like framework. The actors become vessels for an amalgam of concepts, delivering socio-political exposition via distanciating gestures and vocal intonation, creating an awkward and sometimes humorous relationship between form and content.

The systematic entanglement of the cinematography and subject matter fills Grattan’s movies with calculated juxtapositions. This network of references conjures a vexing representation of human life intended to foster debate about liberalism and its interconnectedness with technology, morality, individualism and evolution. Grattan investigates the attendant history and contemporary manifestation of these elements of civilisation using uneasily earnest language to contend with the oppressive power of the politico-economic hegemony.

Grattan graduated from University of Auckland with a BA (Philosophy) in 2001 and again in 2008 with a BFA (Honours) from Elam School of Fine Art. He graduated with an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2012. Grattan lives and works in Los Angeles, USA." - Artist Statement

CIRCUIT Resources

Conversation with Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió (2020)
Essay by Martin Patrick (2015)

CIRCUIT Projects

The Sound of SeeingWellington (2020)
CIRCUIT Market Screening, Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany (2013)
The Artists Cinema, various venues NZ / Europe (2011)

Selected Exhibitions


The Sound of Seeing, The Pyramid Club, Wellington 

CIRCUIT Market Screening, International Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen

HADHAD, ST PAUL St Gallery, Auckland
HADHAD, The Physics Room, Christchurch
74 Minutes, Human Resources Gallery, Los Angeles (USA)

Carmen San Diego: Out of Work and On The Run, ARTSPACE, Auckland
The Artists Cinema, New Zealand International Film Festival, Auckland/Wellington, various venues (Europe)
Sudden gestures or noises, Artspace, Auckland

A Man Without A Factory, City Gallery Wellington
The Artists Cinema, LUX (UK)