Thirty-eight years after his only show in London at the Jack Wendler Gallery âto whose brief history CHELSEA Space dedicated an exhibition in 2009: Dematerialized: Jack Wendler Gallery 1971-1974â Peter Downsbrough presents AND HERE, a series of spatial interventions that will become the scenario for the first phase of a long-term project titled A PLACE TO BE, which puts his work in dialogue with choreography.
The underlying structure of spaces and the manner in which they are perceived and moved through, are some of the issues that Downsbrough's work explores recurrently and meticulously. In AND HERE, the lines, pipes and words he locates in the gallery interrupt in order to challenge âor challenge because they interruptâ the usually automated and unsuspecting way in which one relates to space. Whether it is indoors, in public spaces, or by means of the demarcating frames and routes that he chooses in his photographs and videos, Downsbrough's creative strategy provides the viewers / visitors / passers with the possibility of revisiting their sense of space from a standing point of critical awareness.
Consistent with this intention, A PLACE TO BE stems from the insertion of a body in motion, choreographed by Anna Manubens in collaboration with the performer Aurea Romero, in Downsbrough's spatial pieces. The addition of a choreographed presence to the artist's creative vocabulary, intends to deploy the potential emerging at the intersection between body and space, in order to emphasize the way in which their reciprocal influence affects the perception and apprehension of both. However, the choreography will not be presented in its final form; CHELSEA Space will host instead an open rehearsal taking place twice a week, throughout the duration of the exhibition.
Taking as a starting point notions such as "position" or "occupy" which are intimately connected to Downsbrough' practice, the choreographic research explores the linkage between a position or the act of occupying and the framework in which they take place.
The body functions exactly as the lines, pipes and words that the artist operates with, while also introducing and exploiting the mutability and temporality it adds to his work. The choreographic sequences follow the pattern that Downsbrough implements in his sound pieces âalso included in the exhibitionâ wherein the composing elements are limited in favour of multiplying the possibilities resulting from their permutation - a procedure that takes up on the role played by random configurations in the generation of conceptual artists from the 70s. In favouring choreographic juxtaposition over linear progression or narrative, the aim is to render visible the body-space mechanisms involved in the emergence of their meaning, rather than constructing a specific meaning. These interaction mechanisms are only perceived when their exercise does not result in a particular meaning but in their own visualisation.
What will happen at CHELSEA Space is the first part of a project conceived as a triptych exploring the body-space binomial across different frameworks. After a first stage wherein the moving body activates a static space that has been intervened by the artist, the resulting choreography will be recorded in order to add a mobile viewpoint to the body-space interplay. The edited material will become a moving-image piece, corresponding to the second part of the triptych.
The project's third and final step will be set in a theatrical space in order to reverse the departure situation. Taking advantage of projection and lighting scenic resources, the intention is to minimize the body movement while setting in motion the stage space.
A PLACE TO BE is therefore the experimentation-based core of an investigation that will unfold through various scenarios and approaches to offer different modes of experiencing the body-space imbrications.