Refections on decolonisation and sauvage curatorship in the current BOZAR exhibition
Born in New Jersey and living and working in Brussels, Peter Downsbrough, regarded as a key member of the New York art scene in the late sixties, is no stranger to exhibiting his work in Belgium. One of his works, for example, has been gracefully accompanying the Emile Jacqmainlaan in Brussels since 2003. His show Overlap/s at Botanique opened a few days ago and shows a selection of older work and more recent work, illustrating Downsbrough’s versatility and well established own artistic grammar. We visited the exhibition with Ulysse —“I would not call myself a sculptor, I’m more of a craftsman”— Choner who graduated as a graphic designer, is part of the Deep in House crew and has been training himself in the trade of metal and iron work.
Interview by Elise Dupré
Photos shot by Pauline Colleu at Botanique
I would not call myself a sculptor. It’s more about the artisanship for me
Ulysse, could you introduce yourself briefly?
I am 26 years old and currently live in Brussels. I studied graphic design and typography at l’Ecole de Recherche Graphique (ERG) in Ixelles and for the past two years I have been training myself in iron and metalwork.
What are you working on right now?
I just finished working for an ironworker based in Brussels, Denis Romainville. It’s a bit of outsourcing and a way to learn more about the trade, the techniques and what the job entails.
What do you need in order to make work?
Basically a workshop and machinery! Working with metals requires a lot of machinery, space and knowledge. Especially when you are working on large structures as I am doing now. I would not call myself a sculptor though. It’s more about the artisanship for me. I receive orders and execute them.
We’re strolling at the Peter Downsborough exhibition in Botanique. Did you know his work?
No, I did not.
Does walking in a museum have special meaning for you?
I have always had a connection with art through my parents and the people surrounding me. So yeah, I’d say it’s part of my everyday life.
I have always been inspired by architecture and design
What is currently inspiring you?
I have always been inspired by architecture and design and find a lot of inspiration there. Of course, as I am still training, I am still looking for myself and my own particular style. I have been focussed on steel mostly but I want to expand and learn more about different materials. Work more with wood and cetera.
There is a rather obvious link between Downsbrough’s work and yours, since you’re both choosing tougher material to work and shape with.
Yeah, I think one can easily link his work with mine, or the other way around since we are both working with steel. There is also a graphic aspect to his work that reminds me a bit of my own work at ERG.
Is there a work in the exhibition that catches your eye specifically?
There are definitely a few pieces that could resonate in my own work. There’s one photograph I especially like. It’s a part of the DOORWAYS series. The image is completely symmetric, with a very captivating composition and strong lines. I think that’s probably what I’ll take away from this exhibition the most: the dialogue of space and lines. He’s handling the notion of space so gracefully, cutting it up but letting it breath at the same time.
Overlap/s is on view until August 11th. Simultaneously with this exhibition, Argos is screening a selection of ten short films made by Peter Downsbrough. Both Overlap/s and the screenings are free for Subbacultcha members for the month of July.
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