Mantilla _ Sam Cornish

On first sight Lebrusan’s objects are simply and unambiguously beautiful, intricately constructed from gorgeous materials, catching light and delicately reflecting it back at the viewer. Looking further, it is possible to gradually unravel their beauty, following its threads back to origins that extend from the intensely personal to the broadly historical, cultural and social. It is the ability objects have to unravel, to reveal to the attentive traces of meaning gained through symbolism or particular circumstances of use and production, that fascinates Lebrusan, and which drives her practice.

‘Mantilla’ is the largest and most complex of her recent pieces. A mantilla is a Spanish headscarf, traditionally made of lace, woven in purely decorative patterns. Worn at funerals or weddings, its size is personal, depending on the height of the original owner. Each traditional mantilla acquires its own significance through its scale (like it passed down through families) and more importantly, through its presence at, its marking of, family rituals and rites. With ‘Mantilla’ Lebrusan takes this traditional form and re-threads, as it were, its origins, refilling its rectangle with her own interests and with her own history. It fits her body. Its filigree, worked by Spanish craftsman, reflects her belief in the importance of traditional techniques, and the link these create with the past. Amongst the motifs replacing a purely decorative pattern are hunting scenes, a chair, a cross. Although all have some universal significance the first recalls the grandfather, the second her grandmother and the third an absent friend.

Sam Cornish. Curator & Art historian

October 2018