Blunt Blades (2021)

Blunt Blades
Solo exhibition by Arabel Lebrusan
The Higgins Bedford, UK
11 November 2021 – 30 October 2022

Commissioned to write the exhibition text.

Often provocative, artist Arabel Lebrusan engages with material culture and the feminine tactile environment, looking into wider issues of power relationships, exploitation and inequality. Blunt Blades extends Lebrusan’s study on material culture, exploring our complex relationships with knives and their varied roles. Blunt Blades began in 2013 when Bedfordshire Police gave the artist three crates of confiscated knives and other artefacts. Transforming the metal from these confiscated objects into works that could evoke other emotions, the display examines the ways materials carry inherent meanings and how those meanings can be reshaped. Lebrusan’s artworks, in their myriad forms, do not offer answers to the many issues they raise. Instead, they invite contemplation about object materiality, production of meanings and our shared humanity.

These themes stem from Lebrusan’s personal history, collective memories that she has inherited from her ancestors, as well as specific historical events. In recent years, the artist’s multidisciplinary practice increasingly involves collaborative processes and site-specific interventions. Similar to her installation Lace in Place (2012) displayed at St Paul’s Square in Bedford, Lebrusan invited community members to collaboratively materialise some of the works in Blunt Blades. Lebrusan’s work connects worlds and people that are normally unconnected – they give form to alternative meanings while providing a space for individual and collective narratives.