Peter Downsbrough

°1940, New Jersey (US) – lives and works in Brussels (BE)

Since the end of the 1960s, conceptual artist Peter Downsbrough changed the perception of art thoroughly. At the basis of his strong diversified oeuvre, lies a highly distilled, visual vocabulary, which he uses to examine a given space in a very personal and precise manner. In this way, Downsbrough frequently adopts written language in the form of conjunctions, prepositions, verbs and/or pronouns and applies them to walls, floors and ceilings, often in combination with taut lines made of black tape.

Words like ‘as’, ‘if’ or ‘but’ have a double function: on the one hand, they work as iconographic characters, which emphasize and reveal the space, while on the other hand, they offer the viewer several possibilities of interpretation. Despite the impersonal nature of the elements, Downsbrough manages to create a very familiar word/image-universe with minimal interventions and a limited vocabulary.


Peter Downsbrough
Peter Downsbrough (Photo by Marina Gusina)

Peter Downsbrough has had several solo exhibitions at international institutions, including Mies van der Rohe Haus, Berlin; Espace d’art contemporain, Lyon; S.M.A.K., Ghent; Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź; FRAC, Bourgogne, Dijon; BOZAR, Brussels; MAMCO, Geneva; Wide White Space, Antwerp; and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.

Downsbrough’s work was also included in numerous group exhibitions, such as Friendly Takeover at Marta, Herford; In the Face of Spatial Grandeur, Circuit (curated by Frédéric Chapon) at Centre d’art Contemporain, Lausanne; Less Is More: Pictures, Objects, Concepts from the Collection and the Archives of Herman and Nicole Daled 1966–1978 at Haus der Kunst, Munich; No Comments (curated by Guy Schraenen) at Museu Serralves, Porto; Mamco, Geneva; MACBA, Barcelona; MoMA, New York; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit.

His work is also present in many important collections, including The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Sammlung Marzona, Staatliche Kunstbibliothek zu Berlin; The Tate Gallery Library, London; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon; FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais, Dunkerque; MACBA, Barcelona; MAMCO, Geneva; and S.MA.K., Ghent.

Peter Downsbrough is represented by the following galleries;
click through to discover more of his work.

Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne

Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston

àngels barcelona, Barcelona

works by Peter Downsbrough

Peter Downsbrough - Square with two bars - 2020

Peter Downsbrough

Square with two bars

Peter Downsbrough - Option - 2005

Peter Downsbrough


Peter Downsbrough - A Piece for 2 Lines and 3 Letters - 2011

Peter Downsbrough

A Piece for 2 Lines and 3 Letters

Peter Downsbrough - Open / Als 1.2007 - 2007

Peter Downsbrough

Open / Als 1.2007

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