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Screening+Q&A: Three Films by Peter Downsbrough

2015/05/10 (Sun) @ 17:00 - 19:00

On Sunday, May 10th, three of Peter Downsbrough‘s films will screen at Meridian Space: “SET_[ING]” (2003), “] AND HERE” (2007), and “A]PART” (2009). The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the director, in the company of Chinese artist and curator Liu Tian.


Peter Downsbrough’s passion for industrial architecture takes many forms. His films and photos often capture an industrial or (sub)urban reality that will sooner or later vanish or be subject to redevelopment – be it late Seventies Manhattan or the industrial zones around Kent, UK.

The impressive, prototypical modernist Interbellum Citroën garage at Place d’Yser in Brussels is the subject of Downsbrough’s film A]PART. Shot from the passenger seat of a car driving down the distended corkscrew ramp, the film shows the garage’s interior and views through its windows onto the urban setting below. In a way, the building is filmically taken apart by Downsbrough: from top to bottom (including close-ups of the stained garage floor) it is visually analyzed and scrutinized. Yet the physicality of the building also imposes its framing rules on the film; ‘rules’ the artist evidently plays with – as he has often done before.

SET [ING] combines the indoor and outdoor space of a city which, when we see the iconic Grande Arche (if not sooner), we recognize as La Défense, Paris. The camera is situated in an empty conference room, through whose glazed front wall the façades of surrounding high-rise office buildings can be seen.

The carefully composed exterior shots of ]AND HERE depict the urban and industrial spaces of the English county of Kent, showing both its visible architectonic order and less public economic activity – and economic dissolution. In a series of long panning shots, tracking shots and stills, the video combines and contrasts the controlled dynamic of industrial production and distribution processes on the one hand, and the static architecturally-designed urban environment on the other hand. As the scenes are practically empty of people, the form and “function” of space in time takes centre stage.

Still from SET[ING]

DVD, b/w, sound, 4’20”
Camera: Peter Downsbrough
Editing: Aurélien Bambagioni
Audio: extracts from AND ON, 1979
(music: Peter Gordon, voice: Martine Rapin)
Produced by City Works, 2003
Published by FRAC (Fonds Régional d’art contemporain) Bourgogne

DVD, b/w, sound, 24”
HD anamorphic 16:9, PAL
Camera: Peter Downsbrough
Editing: Aurélien Bambagioni
Project co-ordinator: Christine Gist
Music: Benjamin Francart & Xavier Garcia Bardon
Voices: Marie-Thérèse Champesme, Karel Downsbrough
Commissioned by the Faversham Society, Faversham, Kent, UK

DVD, b/w, sound, 11’50”
Camera: Peter Downsbrough
Editing: Karel Cusse Downsbrough
Produced by City Works, 2009
Published by CKA_EDITIONS, Brussels, 2009


Peter Downsbrough by Heleen RodiersDownsbrough’s work deals with the complex relationship between architecture, typography, and linguistics. A versatile artist, he has worked with multiple mediums over the course of his career. After initially studying architecture, Downsbrough began to produce sculptural works, works on paper, photographs, films, and books. Downsbrough’s work is marked by a stripped down, clean, and geometric aesthetic of quietly graceful gestures in space. At the core of his oeuvre is an investigation of place and the viewer’s relationship to architectural surroundings. Precisely located dark lines straddle, divide, obscure, or embrace Downsbrough’s selected arsenal of words—conjunctions and place identifiers like “here” and “there.” This investigation of spatial rhythms and linear geometry also appears prominently in his black and white photographs of urban cityscapes.

Downsbrough’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout Europe, at venues including the Vienna Secession, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, and the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain in Geneva.


Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston, MA
Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne
Angelsbarcelona, Barcelona
Martine Aboucaya, Paris
Laure Genillard, London
GDM, Paris

Selected Permanent Collections

Centre national d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon, France
Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland
The Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY
Stedelijk Museum van Aktuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium
The New York Public Library, New York City, NY
The Tate Gallery Library, London, England


LiuTianLiu Tian researches into topics related to artistic creation, curating, writing and visual culture.
Since 2006, he has curated exhibitions, including Memorandum for Gaia-The 1st PSA Emerging Curators Program (2014); What A Form: A Reportage by Wu Shanzhuan and Inga Svala Thórsdóttir (2013); West Bund 2013: A Biennial of Architecture and Contemporary Art (assistant curator, 2013); Cloud Theatre-Shanghai Odyssey (director, 2013); Greenbox: The Space of Media Reality (2013); Youthing the Ideal Will-8090 Artists of Zhejiang Province/Research: Art&Life of Contemporary Young Generation (2012); and New Folk Movement—The Reconstruction of Commonality Living at The 2nd Songzhuang Art Festival (2006).

As an artist, he has participated in Reactivation: The 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012); The 3rd Inward Gazes: Documentaries of Chinese Performance Art (2012); ‘Images & Vehicle: An Experimental Exhibition of Media Art’ (2009); ‘Why go to Tibet? – Survey of Tibetan Subject Matter in Painting’ (2007); and Design Network Asia (2006), among others.

In 2009 Liu launched the Contemporary Youth Arts Research Project, which to date has undertaken a series of exhibitions, workshops, research papers and publications. In 2010, he established Open Matter Institute, an artistic independent research and creative project. He is a Ph.D candidate from the Institute of Contemporary Art and Social Thoughts, School of Inter-Media Art, China Academy of Art, and his current research focus is on ‘media reality’.


Time: Sunday, May 10th, 5-7pm
Venue: Meridian Space
Cover: Free


Meridian Borderline:
A laboratory for contemporary art, music and film

Borderline is an ongoing series of events hosted or curated by Meridian 时差, dedicated to avant-garde and/or experimental sound, performance arts, visual arts, and indie cinema. Borderline events are occasions to explore new creative territories.

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