ART-traction: The Art of Intermediate Spaces Found on Gertrude Street

We are all

familiar with the notion of the white cube.

A gallery by common definition comprises four white walls, canvases mounted upon them, with a particularly illuminating arrangement of down-lighting. Certainly nothing new.

Almost as common is the movement to subvert the dominance of the white cube.

The concept of a gallery has been widely expanded – it’s boundaries are as loose and ambiguous as the contemporary art practises they showcase.

The life of the white cube inevitably came full circle when harnessing the irony became a point of difference rather than conformity.

The White Cube Gallery in London, for example, is one of the most successful commercial galleries in the UK.

The installation currently occupying the front room of the Gertrude Contemporary is an intriguing entrance to the white cube debate.

Melbourne based artist Dan Moynihan (who quite conveniently is also a certified carpenter) has constructed a structure duplicating a real-life local gallery. In short, it’s a gallery within a gallery.

The overall effect is a little jarring. The piece’s title, Lost in Space, aptly captures the experience of interacting with the work.

Any complacency first encountered by a viewer is quickly dispelled when the audience is invited into the work.

The full scale

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of the structure is grasped walking into Moynihan’s mini-gallery, up the mini-staircase and onto the first-floor platform, with the normality of Gertrude Street life passing by just below eye level.

Both the competency and delicacy in Moynihan’s handiwork is evident when trusting your weight to a non-permanent, seemingly unstable, structure.

The intermediate space created on Moynihan’s platform is a little like an elevator stopping by floor seven-and-a-half.

It’s an uncanny intersection between realities that continues to confound and impress with it’s very

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Emerging from the work can be compared to walking after recently removing roller blades, or stepping off a trampoline.

A moment to re-adjust is advised.

LostinSpaceDan Moynihan, Lost in Space, 2013. Installation view, Gertrude Contemporary. Image: Jake Walker

Moving into gallery two, Pip Wallis curates a selection of works by artists Ruth Buchanan, Sarah Crowest and Adelle Mills that “extends the gap between comprehension and confusion, unfolding the potential for subversion and new ways of knowing that exist in the abstract.”

The collected pieces, entitled Loosely Speaking, arranges sound, video and sculpture to explore that gap between codified language, social order and the abstract chaos of unconsciousness.

These ideas, expressed spatially, convey infinite possibilities of communication and movement.

Both Lost in Space and Loosely Speaking are on display at Gertrude Contemporary, located at 200 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy until April 27th.

Be sure to drop by before then!

Laura Phillips



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