Year: 2021

Medium: Smoke and stainless steel residue on tracing paper.

Dimensions: 120cm x 90cm

Exhibition: Blunt Blades, November 2021 – November 2022. The Higgins Bedford. Bedford. UK. This exhibition is realised with the support of The Higgins Bedford, Bedford Borough Council and Arts Council England.

Residue (2021) is a large drawing on tracing paper, made using the smoke from burning stainless steel residue of police-confiscated knives. By grounding and burning the steel as an attempt to make the knife disappear, Lebrusan explores the relationship between trauma and object. 

When we try to eliminate an object by making it to the smallest possible particle, is the idea of the knife still there? Is there still a residue of the first offence? What is left? What happens to the traumatic narrative now?” – Arabel Lebrusan


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.

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