PETER DOWNSBROUGH


Galerie Thomas Zander is pleased to present an exhibition of works by the American conceptual artist Peter Downsbrough again. The oeuvre of the Brussels based artist comprises works consisting of lines, letters, cuts, and the spaces in between, which relate to the architectural space and call into question the linearity of both space and language. For the exhibition, a large black wall painting will be realised in situ for the first time, which communicates with a two-part metal object titled AND as well as a floor piece of steel letters.

Also on view are collages and works on paper, such as the series Newspaper (1983), which has never been shown in Germany before. For Newspaper Downsbrough modified front pages of the daily papers The New York Times and Le Figaro by covering them with black spray paint. By laying cut out letters on the paper before, the pages are given a completely altered character with letter combinations – sometimes playfully arranged, sometimes evenly aligned – creating a new work quality reminiscent of collages. The reality of everyday life, represented by the front page news, is covered by a uniform blackness, enriched with the abstraction of the individual letters, which can bee seen as elements of broken down language that dissolve world news into its components. The notion of time is especially important here because like other artists of those decades Downsbrough explores the existence of the individual. And thus the newspaper as metaphor of positioning human beings in space and time can also be found in the work of other pioneers of Minimal Art in the 1970s and ‘80s, as for example On Kawara. The series Newspaper fits in seamlessly with Downsbrough’s oeuvre, which also investigates language as a medium of art in sculpture, drawing, and photography. For his site-specific works, too, he uses letters forming conjunctions, prepositions, verbs and/or nouns and applies them to the walls, floors and/or ceilings. Born in New Jersey in 1940, Peter Downsbrough has since the late 1960s been among the leading artists whose work oscillates between Minimalism, Conceptual Art, and visual poetry and visualises a rich form language. 

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