Stephen Bram

Gertrude Contemporary
Stephen Bram: 200 Gertrude Street
, 2014, installation view, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne

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Six wall planes have been inserted into the gallery, enfolding the space in an all-encompassing concertina. Three deep ‘valleys’ carve the rooms, repeating from floor to ceiling. Walking through these angular passages the viewer is variously enveloped in light and dark; we experience an internal space that refers constantly to the outside world.

This work draws on Bram’s ongoing project that uses two or three vanishing points in space to create a structural form. These points are outside the boundaries of the work and so the installation constantly reaffirms its relationship with the external world despite its formal appearance.

Our physical, spatial experience of the installation foregrounds a philosophical enquiry; how is meaning attributed through the relationship of objects and people Bram’s project explores this question by refusing to attribute significance to the vanishing points he nominates.

Abstract artwork is sometimes considered either work about nothing or work about itself. 200 Gertrude Street is instead abstraction that encompasses the arbitrariness of meaning making. Bram makes visible the structural supports of the forms; the timber struts of each wall reveal themselves to the viewer and the parallax view of the work shifts constantly in accordance with our movement.

200 Gertrude Street was the first in series of exhibitions by Gertrude Contemporary alumni in celebration of the community of artists who have shaped a Melbourne institution over three decades.