Police doing Acroyoga, drone flights over military training areas in the Californian Sonora Desert, a piece of fence from the US/Mexican border repurposed as a picture frame, a memorial to Melania Trump and a search for her home town, animals melting into a Brutalist concrete landscape – by means of social sculpture Brad Downey infiltrates and comments on the conditions which surround us, societal relations, and political power structures.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, the artist acquired international renown through his subversive, minimalist interventions in public space, which produce moments of alienation and humourous new connections between apparently disparate objects, making visible the conventions that dominate our urban environment. In his solo exhibition Slow Motion Disasters at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Downey widens his scope, adding to his work in the public domain to include film, photography, sculpture, drawing, and immersive installations. In doing so, Downey focusses on the relationship between the individual, the state authority and political power, and creates on a scale that ranges from the minimal and the megalomaniac.
Downey takes on the role of a trickster, and challenges our ingrained viewing habits with slapstick humour and seemingly random arrangements, thereby exposing the fundamental absurdity of everyday life. This opens a poetic space for new modes of viewing, acting, and encountering one’s own deep sense of discomfort. What possibility do we have to confront the irrational, contradictory phenomena which we perceive on a daily basis, but do not want to acknowledge? How do we come to terms with the unavoidable disasters of our times?
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