In the toilet #204

Year: 2000 – 2020

Medium: Photography. Projection

Dimensions: Variable

Exhibition: In my house 4. Virtual exhibition. The AntiMA. May 2020. Curator: Abigail Miller

“With Arabel’s piece, I was aware that using a toilet in art can become quite Duchamp-y. I wanted to avoid any relation to the readymade object, as I felt this piece had more narrative than the toilet as a functional thing. With her practice rooted in the encounters we have with spaces, it made me consider the things we do in bathrooms: wash our hands, typical bodily functions, crying, vomiting, taking 5 minutes away from the kids, checking our makeup  or hair is good before we leave for work etc etc. Arabel used photography to document and emotionally process her experience of going through an eating disorder. She used the image of a toilet and bathroom to create a sense of distance. With images we can press pause and look a little bit more, notice more details that we didn’t initially see before by just looking. Projecting an image of a toilet onto a toilet created a duality of the object, and the distortion of the image incited an interesting narrative texture that blended together space and experienced encounters with spaces.” Abigail Miller, curator.

In the Toilet is a photographic memoir of Lebrusan’s 10-year experience with an eating disorder during her mid 20s. Her images of the toilet walk us through her personal experience: the anxiety and struggles that coloured her womanhood.

Lebrusan snapped these images as a way of processing her experience. She defamiliarises the mundane and engages in practices of re-interpreting and re-locating the toilet – a space which under her lens turn more unrecognisable and more accessible as it is carefully, meticulously prised open. When we speak of the toilet, one would instantaneously relate the space to daily bodily functions. Depicting the toilet as a documentation of her eating disorder, Lebrusan compels us to see the image for its event rather than the image itself. The images remind us of our vulnerability within the private space – where one would cry, vomit and take 5 minutes away from the kids as curator Abigail Miller described her work.

While ‘In The Toilet’ depicts Lebrusan’s space, her images continue to evolve, finding new meaning in a present moment where eating disorders and social neglect continue to impact people. They show life as it was happening, with the ability to resonate in ways that are unexpected and vital even 20 years later. It is a memory of not only her struggles but strength to allow a place for recovery to start.