Damaged Goods

Cuadro Gallery Dubai,UAE



Adam Hardy

In one room of the exhibition, Brad Downey has constructed sculptures from the very materials that are ordinarily used to install art work the candy colored plugs that secure heavy pieces to a wall, and the plinths that support sculptures. On a few of these he has installed what he calls "plugged lumps."

Brad Downey would be the first to admit that he is damaged goods. He is tattered. In a few years he will inevitably develop liver spots on the back of his hands. For this reason, his art has scars too. Key pieces in this exhibition are inspired by a recent trip to the Tatar capital city of Kazan —a city with a name that literally translates to ‘boiler.’

While exploring the avenues, Downey came across several advertorial banners that had been battered by weather, targeted by local graffiti artists, then scrubbed with a bucketful of bleach by a sanitation worker until they had muddled into a clouded grey and green palette. It was a battle of aesthetic censorship between advertiser, artist, and cleaner, each believing with some degree of self righteousness that his curated version of the banner’s appearance held more value than all others. Brad Downey is a confirmed kleptomaniac. He stole the banners, stretched them like canvases, then signed them. Here is how Brad Downey explains his role in creation: “These are the facts of what I did: I touched this work a lot. I cut it, I carried it, I stole it, I took a risk for it, I rolled it up and brought it to Berlin. I opened it up. I looked at it in my studio a lot. I thought about it, I painted on it and photographed it. Maybe I lied about everything and I actually bought the banner, or did the graffiti, maybe I was also the buffer.”

For literary types who enjoy relaxing with a magazine, Brad Downey would like to offer a bespoke library, custom-fitted with distinct plywood shelving. The glossy publications featured (all sourced in the UAE) have each been hand-corrected by member from a team of Media Checkers proficient in the use of thick black ink, who interprets his or her own distinct standards concerning the modesty of the content. Brad Downey is toying with the violence and beauty of removing information from view.

-Danna Lorch