Illusions of stability #1 & #2
Medium: Hairdrawings. Lace net, natural hair (Arabel’s hair)
Dimensions: 81 x 65 cm
NN Open, 2015-2016. NN Contemporary Art, Northampton. UK
Freehold Exhibition (solo). St Albans Museum, St. Albans, UK. July – September 2015. Commissioned by UH Galleries, with support from the Arts Council.
Photo Credits: Dan Weill
“A house constitutes a body of images that give mankind proofs or illusions of stability.” Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space.
Freehold is a series of works that make up an installation exhibited in 2015 at UH Galleries, St Albans Museum. Freehold pivots on the human aspiration to own a house and create a home. Lebrusan is interested in the motivations behind our dreams of home ownership and the stability, security and protection it promises. Freehold undermines and challenges these motives, suggesting that the house can also be a site of chaos, disorder, claustrophobia and violence.
Freehold #1 and #2 are floor plans of homes drawn in Lebrusan’s own hair. Woman’s hair historically has often been perceived as her crowing glory, thus Lebrusan’s lines of hair could refer to women’s negotiations with expectations of feminity and beauty. Continuing her feminist thread of work, these plans express role reversals in the domestic space where ‘more women are increasingly becoming breadwinners with mortgages’. While inferences may be that the flow of hair separated from the female head is a flag of femininity; women can literally cut themselves free from masculine expectations and dialogues.
Like our homes, hair is a signifier of our personal/group identities that might act as a marker of exclusion and inclusion. Freehold #1 and #2 may be understood as artistic visualisation of diaspora and home ownership in contemporary Britain. Lebrusan’s use of hair can be read as continually negotiating tensions between layers of meaning, functions and materials. Seeming to chart at emotions and personal environments, Freehold hints at questions of equilibrium between historic stabilities and instabilities of identity. The hair drawings interrogate how structures and systems of power, colonisation and diaspora as well as embodied experiences might be suggested or symbolically represented.