Berlin-based artist Bram Braam’s sculptures are architectural and concerned with the environment they create. An interest in set design and illustration, and a background in graphic design, lent itself to pursuing contemporary art, often working specifically with a space in mind. Find more at the links below!
Can you tell me about yourself?
I’ve lived in different cities in the Netherlands but have been living in Berlin for 8 years now. I first studied graphic design and communication at a school focused on the advertising industry. Looking back I can say that it wasn’t really the right place for me. I was involved in the underground house scene for a long time and very dedicated as a graffiti writer, more interested in the outskirts of society. After graduating I wanted to work in the field of illustration and graphic design but didn’t find a job in that field so decided to apply for the art academy in Den Bosch.
I didn’t have any plans to become a contemporary artist at the beginning, I was thinking more of becoming a set designer for theatre, but after the first year it became quite clear to me that I needed to go in the direction of autonomous art and year after year I got more obsessed about making it in the contemporary art world.
After my graduation I got a stipendium from the Mondriaan Foundation that gave me the chance to do an artist in residency in Berlin.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
From a young age my parents took me to exhibitions. I can remember seeing paintings by Monet in a huge exhibition in Liege, which was an amazing experience. Since a young age I was only talented in the creative fields such as drawing and painting, so in a way it was clear that I would do something artistic.
The reason why I’m doing what I do now is that a lot of factors came together. In a way it was good for me to start at the academy a little older, as I approached it in a more serious way, helping me become the artist I am now and ultimately changing my life.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
I’m dealing with architecture and the constant evolution of our daily surroundings.
A theme that runs through all of my practice is the way we plan things and the lack of control we have. My art practice has changed in the last years to become more personal and more focused on my direct environment in Berlin. Connecting the poetry of daily life in urban environments and minimalistic interventions.
What is your process like?
The process is difficult to describe as it can be different every time, but mostly it starts with small ideas and making sketches. It can sometimes take a year before I can finally realise an idea, this is usually to do with other projects that I may need to finish first, and also these ideas need to grow by context and content. I mostly work on one show a time, which gives some framework for how the works may become related to a specific space.
My upcoming project, which has not been started yet, will consist of some sculptural works made partly out of epoxy resin. I would like to make a mould from different parts of architectural elements out in the streets and combine this with parts of street furniture like an amalgamation of a street poured in white glossy resin. Then I would juxtapose this with some real objects like a tree or a street pole where you have the contrasts between the real and the artificial, the polished and the raw.
Is there any advice that you’ve received in the past that you’re grateful you chose to ignore?
To not become an artist!
What is your studio like?
My studio can be: a metal workshop, a carpenters workshop, a spray cabin, a concrete foundry, an exhibition space, a storage space and a nuclear testing zone from time to time.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
It’s both challenging and frustrating that everything in my life is connected with being a full-time artist. Full-time means seven days a week, visiting openings of exhibitions, documenta’s, bienales and at the same time working in the studio, making art, thinking, writing, sending emails, writing proposals, writing interviews and making enough money with art to live.
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
Life is art.
What are you working on right now?
I’ll participate at Code Art Fair at the end of August with some new sculptural works, which I’m still busy with.
Anything else you would like to add?
Upcoming shows: Bethanien Berlin at end of July, Code Art Fair in August in Copenhagen with Gijs van Lith and Gerben Mulder presented by MPV Gallery from the Netherlands. In September I participate in the exhibition contemporary contemplations in Kunsthaus Erfurt and during Berlin art week in a major group exhibition called “Bottem up” what should be a must see that week!
Then in November I will have a duo presentation in Laden fuer nichts at the spinnerei in Leipzig togheter with Dag Przybilla. Stay tuned on my website!