Peter Downsbrough | FROM TO


S.M.A.K., together with MAC’s Grand-Hornu, is devoting a book and a presentation to the postcards of Peter Downsbrough (1940, New Brunswick).

Since the 1960s, Downsbrough has been working on a varied oeuvre that embraces photography, sculpture, installations, artist books and postcards. His work is linked to Minimal Art and Conceptual Art by its innovative approach to space and language.

The new book published by the two museums is a supplement to the artist books that Downsbrough created between 1968 and 2010. It inventorises about 400 postcards that the artist has modified since the 1980s, some of which he sent to friends, fellow artists and curators.

The use of the postcard as a medium is related to Downsbrough’s fascination with urban space. As rather old-fashioned-looking products of our touristic view of the world, these cards show places with iconic monuments or architecture, or more banal, interchangeable ‘non-places’ such as beaches, harbours and rivers.

The artist modifies these recycled pictures using transfer letters, tape and offset printing. He applies lines, letters and words that influence our reading of the places depicted. Lines divide up the images or follow their existing lines of perspective. Photos always show a limited cut-out view of reality, but Downsbrough’s additions are evocative, break open the images and stimulate our imagination.

The presentation Peter Downsbrough | FROM TO was developed in connection with the publication of the new postcard book and, in addition to about 100 original postcards, includes two Wall Pieces that the artist created specially for S.M.A.K. From 18 September 2016, MAC’s will also be holding an exhibition of Peter Downsbrough’s work.

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