Freehold. Commissioned by UH Galleries, with support from the Arts Council. July – September 2015, St Albans Museum, St. Albans, UK.
Site-specific installation. Soap tiles, carbolic soap, brick dust on paper and wood, salvaged furniture, hair drawings, mirror, photo transfer, reclaimed doll’s house.
“A house constitutes a body of images that give mankind proofs or illusions of stability. (Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space)
Arabel Rosillo de Blas’ new immersive installation Freehold, pivots on the human aspiration to own a house and create a home. This aspiration is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in St Albans – an affluent city steeped in history where many people seek to settle and own property.
Arabel is interested in the motivation behind our dreams of home ownership and the stability, security and protection it promises. Her artworks created for Freehold undermine and challenge these motives and suggest instead that the ‘house’ can be a site of chaos, disorder, claustrophobia and even violence.
The impetus for the installation was a group of intriguing objects, photographs and architectural drawings from the Museum of St Albans collection. These relate to post-war housing developments in St Albans, including estates such as Mashalswick and later Jersey Farm, and demonstrate appetite for lone ownership and fresh beginnings.
Arabel has worked with these original materials to create handmade sculptures and drawings that are typically intricate and highly finished. These function both as beautiful new artifacts and also as social commentary. As ‘visual metaphors’ they encourage visitors to connect otherwise unrelated objects, ideas and histories, to open up new connections and conversations. Yet often their ‘decorative’ appearance belies uncomfortable and sinister content – usually suggesting issues related to the position of women within domestic environments…” read more
Photo Credits: Dan Weill