Chance encounter with a local artist

I had been looking for a while on ebay for used map drawers to store prints. Those I found online were either out of my price range or interstate. Then recently, appeared these industrial 6-map filing drawers on auction ending on Christmas Eve, as a pick-up only & nowhere else but in my neighbourhood (Fitzroy)! I saw it as a sign, carefully placed my bid, and won the auction. I had to pick it up on Boxing Day and I frenetically attempted to find extra hands to carry the beast. Fat chance on Boxing Day! The pick up location was barely 400 m from my place but the size of the whole piece was intimidating (86 x 147 x 86 cm).

I turned up for the pick up and discovered the location was in one of the Gertrude Contemporary Space Studios on the 1st floor. Sanné Mestrom, an artist herself, was the seller and was packing up to move to the country where she’d start a teaching job. The drawers had served her well, she confided. I was amazed at the size of the studio space where evidence of a 2-year residency was scattered around such as various art pieces, sketches, moulds, and other art materials. Mestrom said she had managed to carry the map drawers upstairs with the help of a friend. Together with my man, we took the beast apart, reassembled it on Gertrude street, propped the whole thing on a hand-built square board on wheels and pushed it 400 m back home. 

Compression chamber, 2011 - Sanné Mestrom

I had seen the works of Sanné Mestrom at Gertrude Contemporary Space during the exhibition, ‘Octopus 11: A matter of air’. Mestrom’s ‘Compression chamber (2011)’ was displayed and involved various sculptures of equal weight, representing the weight of air in the 5 cubic meter gallery space. I noticed that Mestrom had also exhibited in other shows with 3 of my current university teachers: Kiron Robinson, Sanja Pahoki, and Lou Hubbard. As a contemporary installation artist whose practice is both experimental and conceptual,  I find Mestrom’s projects very interesting and diverse. I love the idea of having unexpectedly discovered a local artist. Not only do I finally own a set of map drawers, but there’s also a story behind it.