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Peter Downsbrough

The Book(s) 1968-2013

By Joan Morey 06.05.13

99 books belonging to the artist, two new catalogues, interventions concerning the architecture of the exhibition space and the sound of a metronome are, among others, the elements that the visitor will find at PETER DOWNSBROUGH — THE BOOK(S) 1968-2013, the second exhibition to be held at FABRA i COATS at the Centre d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona.  

Peter Downsbrough (New Jersey, USA, 1940) belongs to a generation of artists that all use the book as an alternative format to present their work. His career begins in the early sixties (when he was studying architecture) reflecting his adopted artistic process and concern about the “position” and the “displacement” of objects, elements and people within a location, be it an exhibition space, the architecture, the book or in the city.  

Through his books, sculptures, photographs, scale models, films, audio-pieces and videos, Downsbrough questions the traditional use of space and language. His formal tools are words, lines and arrows creating a personal vocabulary to which he incorporates grids and diagonals, technical plans, cut-outs, photographs, punctuation signs, maps, notes, modified postcards and film-stills.

This show, curated by Moritz Küng, makes evident the way in which Downsbrough uses the book as if it was a “volume”, a place from which to work from a tactile and formal starting point. A format that outlines an exhibition area where reflections, images, associations, compositions and proportions are captured.  The starting point is always the guidelines established around the research carried out regarding concepts of “place” and about the effects of locating objects in relation to one another in space and time (an on-going modus operandi for almost forty-five years).

THE BOOK(S) 1968-2013 is a thorough review of Downsbrough’s production showing his books in glass display boxes, on screens or hard copies that can be thumbed, in addition to various sculptural interventions on display and the programme of activities: “Contemplate the films | Debate over the books | Listen to the audio-pieces of Peter Downsbrough”. Some of the publications are actually on sale at the Centre d’Art: Peter Downsbrough — The Book(s); Peter Downsbrough — Addendum (both edited by Moritz Küng and published by HATJE CANTZ) and the publication A place — Barcelona, a book by the artist edited by Angels Barcelona.

  • Peter Downsbrough - The Book(s). General view of the exhibition

  • Entrance to the exhibition

  • Peter Downsbrough - The Book(s), general view

  • Wall piece, letters and metal rods (detail)

  • view of Near/Press, Dedans and Le/La books in display case

  • view of the interior, various publications on video displays

  • From 22 February to 18 May
  • Fabra i Coats Centre D'Art Contemporani de Barcelona
  • C. Sant Adrià, 20 08030 Barcelona
  • www.centredart.bcn.cat/es