Philipp von Rosen

Peter Downsbrough

18 Jul - 29 Aug 2009

© Peter Downsbrough
July 18 - August 29, 2009
Figge von Rosen Galerie, Cologne
Installation shot

Opening on July 17, 2009 at 7.00 pm
Exhibition from July 18 to August 29, 2009

We are delighted to inaugurate on Friday, July 17 at 7.00 p.m. our first exhibtion with the US-american artist Peter Downsbrough. Downsbrough, in the end of the 60ies, was actively participating in the development of conceptual art starting off from minimalism, when he began to deal with the complex relations of architecture, language and typography. However, his sculptures, photographs, films, drawings and artist books – even though he participated in documenta 6 in 1977 – got only in the last years the necessary institutional attention through international single exhibitions. For our exhibition, Downsbrough has installed four works that deal with the space. Besides these works, we show six drawings and – independently of the exhibition – a group of films in our Raum für Video (Space for Video).

In reaction to the theories and thoughts of the artists of minimalism, Downsbrough described as early as 1970 his work process as the attempt, to not be seduced as a sculptor by the materiality of the works and by the physical labor. If only the form of the sculpture is constant, the only thing that matters is the space that it occupies. The many so-called Two Poles – pieces that were done outdoors between 1970 and 1977 – could be described in so far as inverse sculptures in the sense that they are not emphasizing the internal or contained structure of a work but the structure of the context. The intervention of the artist can be reduced to two overlapping metal pipes of differing length – one pending from a hook in the ceiling, the other fixed on the ground parallel to the first– and that reduces this intervention in a way to the selection of the site. The subtle sculptures cut the space in several pieces of which size-relations depend on the ever-changing position of the viewer. In addition to that, the vertical lines negate the three-dimensionality of the space and let dominate in the eye of the recipient the twodimensional level of the respective piece. The artificiality of the lines causes us not to look in the space, but to be confronted with a space, as if it were an image of a space.

The four works ANDERE/ ALS, DAS (2009), UND (2009), HIER (2009), and CONTAIN/ AS, TO, TO (2009) that are part of our exhibition, belong to a group of works that – since the early 1980ies – developed of the early, radical sculptures and the simultaneous dealing with typography and language and that go beyond the early basic examinations. Downsbrough uses black tape to apply thin lines on the walls of a space and adhesive black vinyl letters to add single words, mostly conjunctions and prepositions. They enlarge the puzzle of depth and flatness, of sepraration and connection, of gap and ampleness to the level of the language.

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