Slapstick Formalism: Process, Project, Object
24 x 32cm, 456 pages, full color offset, softcover, co-published with Hatje Cantz
Brad Downey is a Berlin-based, Kentucky-born artist who has made radical and inspiring artworks all across the globe. This former 432, now 456 pages strong catalogue presents the first full assessment of these works: sculptures, architecture, performances, installations, films, drawings, collages, and activism, each having found its inspiration in the objects and activities of daily life.
With humour, sensitivity, and insight, Downey examines the fabric of our cities, our countryside, our holy sites, and our forgotten margins and disputed borders. In doing so, he weaves new narratives into their chaotic patterns and makes vague the divisions between art and the everyday.
This book was conceived in close collaboration with the artist, edited by Lukas Feireiss and contains texts by Jimmie Durham, Hrag Vartanian, Alain Bieber, Rafael Schacter, Matthew Murphy, Angelique Spaninks, Jennifer Thatcher, Marc Wellmann, and Ed Zipco.
Downey is one of the free people. Not a throw-back but slightly out-of-place in these controlled times. He is from the US and so carries that weight around, but lightly, as though it is not such a burden as we know it to be. It is a kind of mentally athletic suppleness he has.
If he encounters a fence, a wall, a barrier of any kind, his impulse seems to be to poke a hole in it. Then he can hang some art in the hole. But his ideas about what constitutes art are completely free, unfettered, and uncontrolled.
I love the way your work accumulates in book-form, the seemingly random and incidental gradually revealing a pattern, like a method to the madness, the disruptive topography of an aesthetic crime wave.