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 3 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.
This exhibition contains discussion of violence and self-harm that may not be suitable for all audiences.
Knives that no longer cut
by Fatoş Üstek
Arabel Lebrusan is a leading artist, award-winning jewellery designer and pioneer of the ethical jewellery movement. For the past 25 years she has been creating works that belong to one of these realms – or bridge the gap between them. As an artist Lebrusan’s sculpture, one-of-a-kind art jewels and site-specific interventions function as social commentary. Focussing her lens specifically on material culture and the ‘feminine’ tactile environment, her works investigate wider issues of power relationships, exploitation and inequality. Meanwhile, the jewellery that she designs and sells under her eponymous sustainable jewellery brand, Lebrusan Studio, encapsulates traditional artisanship and ethical design practices. Read more
The Higgins Bedford is a Bedford Borough Council cultural service that showcases wonderful and varied collections of fine and decorative arts and changing exhibitions drawn from the nationally significant collection of British watercolours, drawings and prints. Displays of archaeology, social history and ethnography explores stories of local people and demonstrates how Bedfordshire has developed over time.
The Higgins Bedford is a Bedford Borough Council cultural facility. Bedford Borough values cultural provision as a vital component in making Bedford a better place to live, work and visit. In particular The Higgins contributes to making Bedford an ‘Inclusive Borough’ – where people, whatever their background, feel part of the wider community and are proud to celebrate its rich diversity; where inequalities are reduced and all people are able to participate in the sporting, artistic and civic life of the Borough.
Visit Blunt Blades in-person
The Higgins Bedford
Bedford MK40 3XD
Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 5pm
Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday 2 – 5pm
Closed on Mondays
+44 1234 718618
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© 2021 Arabel Lebrusan
Arabel Lebrusan (b.1974, Madrid) is a UK-based visual artist whose practice centres on material culture and the feminine tactile environment, exploring wider issues of power relationships, exploitation and inequality.