Bram Braam | Alex Baams
Bram Braam site specific architectural work takes the floor, 2014
Mobile, duo exhibition
This month SEA’s Project Space Tilburg will become the playground of Dutch artists Bram Braam and Alex Baams. In an organic and fluid fashion the exhibition will take its definitive shape through the (visual) interaction between both artists, their work and the exhibition space. Besides similarity in materiality and themes a remarkable tension is created through the difference in spatiality and degrees of abstraction. For this occasion, Bram Braam is artist in Residence and during his stay he changes the structure of his architectonic installation “How Long is Now? Transition of Structures”. He moves the project as a whole and adapting it to the measurements of Project Space Tilburg, SEA Foundation’s street fronted gallery space. In turn, Baams will experiment by stretching the boundaries of painting while he takes the liberty to tweak his work with little twists and turns.
Upon entering the exhibition space, Bram Braam and Alex Baams did not know each other and, from the start, the contrast between them could not be bigger: a figurative painter opposite a builder of architectonic installations. Materials are different, method is different, the choice of subject is different, the level of abstraction is different. Still, the surface needed to be barely scratched to discover common ground and kinship as sharing the same exhibition space is not accidental.
Both Baams and Braam play with the notion of recognizability by modeling this concept into a more common language of imagery. Baams taps into the viewer’s sense of recognizability by displaying in paint common objects and material while Braam reflects on architectural changes in city scapes and re-uses this language of imagery. Both pour this notion of recognizability into an aesthetic mould and alienating context, recognizability by re-affirming it in a new perspective, thus tighten the bolts even further.
By juxtaposing realistic depiction in a different manner, Baams disturbs common perception. Seemingly unrelated and independent objects suddenly gain a new connection. Or did this connection already exist? Ultimately the answer to this question does not matter, because, one could argue that, the act of viewing already forms a connection. Beside this, Baams also questions the art of painting itself, in both content and expression. Pure realism does not seem to be possible seeing the hesitance with which brush strokes are applied to the canvas; the lines are not perpendicular and details are not as infinite as they are in reality. The abstraction is hidden behind an inwards enticing as well as alluring common language of imagery.
Where Baams searches for “the recognizable” through choice of objects and their various relations, “the recognizable” in Braams work in particular is found in form. Expression, tactility and space dominate in the work of Braam. One could even remark that the object is barely present. This could be credited to a difference of abstraction as architecture refrains itself from the figurative and creates its own imagery. In this abstraction, architecture speaks to itself. But Braam is not an architect and his installations are no buildings, so what does this mean in terms of our perception? First of all, the nature of functionality common to architecture, looses its validity; these forms of expression are not meant to live or work in. What remains is an uninhabited monument, a new type of ruin and the manner of expression is more striking than the original content and functionality. Other than the more figurative approach seen in the work of Baams, the work of Braam does not display a ”representation of” but rather a creation of a new type of object.
By no means Baams creates new objects in his figurative works. Here, the depicted exists outside of the work, while Braam creates the depicted on the spot through his work.
This exhibition is part of Bram Braam’s Artist in Residency at SEA Foundation. Read more about Bram Braam Artist in Residence.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue and textbook. Released in limited edition 30, signed and numbered. It features a reflection on the duo’s work by art and culture scholar Robert Proost (Tilburg University).
Title: Mobile, Bram Braam & Alex Baams
Chapbook: self cover
Print: digital print black and white
Text and poem Robert Proost
Translation Heleen Klomp
Graphic design JinHee Kwon
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