Electric Apron

Year: 2014 – 2021

Medium: 1200 copper components, copper cable, fused plug

Dimensions: 130cm x 50cm x2.5cm

Exhibition: About Hands, 9th March- 4th April 2023. Koop Projects, Brighton, UK

Electric Apron (2014-2021) is one of a number of Lebrusan’s works about the domestic. The copper apron depicts a Viana’s heart (top) and 2 butcher’s knives that feature antibiotic formulas used to treat beef cattle and chicken (bottom). Traditionally, women are subjected to the domestic space and in some parts of the world, these expectations still persist. Creating an apron that has a potentially lethal current, this work challenges the notions of domestic and home. It reveals the threatening aspects of a home and its relation to the food industry.

‘Electric Apron’ is made of 1200 interlinked filigree copper components and shaped as a kitchen apron. The apron has a Viana’s heart on the top and 2 butcher’s knives on the bottom half. Lebrusan appropriates objects associated with the domestic home, a traditionally female domain and presents them with a discomforting edge. The knives feature antibiotic formulas – Laidlomycin and Tylosin – that are used to treat beef cattle and chicken respectively. When plugged in, the wires of the apron conduct electrical currents that are able to electrocute its wearer. The sculpture is not plugged in when displayed to prevent viewers from the potentially lethal current. 

A universal experience of the unsettling kitchen garment is unachievable, as women in many parts of the world are still subjected to the domestic context. By playing on a garment, ‘Electric Apron’ not only challenges the notions of the home but reveals the boundaries of the body. Lebrusan integrates humanising elements into the domestic if one ignores the electric threat of the installation. The copper components connected to complete a circuit are manipulated to create poetic lines and shapes. There is a sensitivity to the work that reveals beauty behind its danger – Lebrusan has carefully designed the placement to not only pass current through them but to also convey a bare elegance. Its ornamentation is deceiving and can be related to the rising case of domestic abuse; we never know what happens behind closed doors. 

Lebrusan has been working on this apron since 2014. The theme of the everyday has changed over time: from critiquing physical and social structures, to considering how our evolving culture and food ethics contribute to different readings of the everyday. ‘Electric Apron’ shows that the domestic is not just a blanket of banality, revealing the menacing aspects of the household, and animal abuse within the food industry.