Lecture // DAZ // Y-Table // 9.11.2011 // 8 pm
Brad Downey’s work isn’t strictly categorised within the marketing-friendly term ‘street art’, which presumes a separation from contemporary art and its history. Rather, it is full of witty, sometimes acerbic references to art-historical figures and movements, from Dada to land art to minimalism, pushing the experiments of 20th-century modernist sculpture into the anarchy and chaos of 21st-century globalised cities such as Berlin, London and Dubai.
Unlike conventional public art, his studio is not tucked away out of view but is on the street, and his materials are the found objects and detritus which the urban environment so plentifully provides: traffic cones, street signs, bollards, shopping trolleys. Production mingles with the countless roadworks being carried out on in the urban environment, highly visible but ignored by most. His spontaneous sculptures only last as long as the public or officials care to allow - from 10 seconds to a few days. Some may still be in existence.
Downey’s work has always carried a strong note of defiance against the bureaucracy and paranoia that governs public space. Few of his works are important reminders of the tension that always lies behind Downey’s working method and the stakes his work carries in a tightly regulated urban realm, even when he appears to wear this tension lightly.
DAZ hosts the Berlin Weißensee School of Art for a lecture series
History of human kind can be described as the history of inclusions, exclusions, centralization, marginality, legibility and difference; in general human history is the history of conflict in different spaces. Generally art has been the most truthful witness of history, and how actual situations can be reflected from different points of views is what these lectures are about.