Laia Abril, A history of Misogyny, chapter one: On Abortion, PESSARIES, 2015
From January 25th to February 22th 2020
Galerie Les filles du calvaire
Exhibition from 8 March to 2 June 2019 / Talk on Friday 8 March 2019 at 6:30pm
The Photographer's Gallery
From November 22 to December 9th 2018
Maison des métallos, Paris
From July 05th to September 23rd
Villa domergue, Cannes
Exhibition from June 30th to July 28th
Galerie Les filles du calvaire
From January 19th to March 11th 2018
Umetnostna galerija Maribor, Slovenia
From December 14th 2017 to February 11th 2018
Museo Municipal de Ourense, Ourense, Spain
From October 5th to November 7th 2017
Festival PhotoReporter, Saint Brieuc, France
From October 6th to November 2nd 2017
City of Women, Ljubjiana, Slovenia
From June 16th to July 1st 2017
Fotoleggendo, Rome, Italy
From October 1st to 30th 2016
From September 8th to September 30th 2016
From June 6th to August 28th 2016
Galerie im Taxispalais, Vienne, Austria
From July 4th to September 25th 2016
Rencontres Arles, France
Born in 1986, Barcelona, Spain
Lives in Barcelona, Spain
Dealing with issues surrounding sexuality, the body, psychology, and women rights, Laia Abril brings to the surface invisible images of the uncomfortable and the misunderstood. Her aim is to cultivate empathy by breaking taboos around societal judgments of what or who is different. With a background in journalism her photographic practice has always been deeply influenced by a narrative-based approach and integration of political discourse. In her acclaimed book The Epilogue Abril exemplified this approach through reconstructing the life story of Cammy, a young woman who died from bulimia, using her own photographs along family snapshots, written fragments, diary entries, and medical records. Abril’s current work revolves around conceptualization and interpretation of facts, working with photography, video and mixed media installations. Her ongoing long-term project A History of Misogyny involves a multitude of visual research that entails historical and contemporary comparisons. Its first chapter, On Abortion, documents and highlights the repercussions of women’s lack of legal, safe and free access to abortion. First shown at Les Rencontres d’Arles 2016 and awarded the Prix Madame Figaro, the project utilizes Abril’s signature approach to weave a net of questions around issues of ethics and morality.
Laia Abril is a multidisciplinary artist. Her work has been shown internationally and is held in major private and public collections such as Musée de l’Elysée, Winterthur Museum, FRAC and MNAC. Abril is the author of Thinspiration (self-published, 2012), Tediousphilia (Musée de l’Elysée, 2014), The Epilogue (Dewi Lewis, 2014) shortlisted for the Paris Photo-Aperture First Book Award, Kassel PhotoBook Festival, Photo España Best Book Award, Lobismuller (RM, 2016) recipient of the Images Book Award and On Abortion (Dewi Lewis, 2017) ICP-Infinity Award nominee.
ISBN : 978-1-911306-24-5
Under ‘natural’ circumstances, the average woman would get pregnant about 15 times in her life, resulting in ten births. Seven of those babies would survive childhood. For centuries, people have searched for ways to delay or terminate pregnancy. Today, safe and efficient means of abortion finally exist, yet women around the world continue to use ancient, illegal or risky home methods: Every year, 47,000 women die from botched abortions.
Across many countries and religions, millions of women are still denied access to abortion by the law or by social coercion. They are forced to carry pregnancies to term against their will, even minors and rape victims, and for many the pregnancy is not viable or poses a health risk. But all can be criminalized for trying to abort.
On Abortion is the first part of Laia Abril’s new long-term project, A History of Misogyny. The work was first exhibited at Les Rencontres in Arles in 2016 and awarded the Prix de la Photo Madame Figaro and the Fotopress Grant. Abril documents and conceptualizes the dangers and damage caused by women’s lack of legal, safe and free access to abortion. She draws on the past to highlight the long, continuing erosion of women’s reproductive rights through to the present-day, weaving together questions of ethics and morality, to reveal a staggering series of social triggers, stigmas, and taboos around abortion that have been largely invisible until now.
Laia Abril is a visual artist, photographer and bookmaker from Barcelona. After graduating in Journalism, she enrolled at FABRICA – the Benneton artist residency; where she worked at COLORS Magazine as a creative editor and staff photographer for 5 years. Her projects have been shown throughout Europe, in the United States, and in China and have been published in media worldwide. Her work is held in many private and public collections. Her first book with Dewi Lewis Publishing, the critically acclaimed The Epilogue (2014), was shortlisted for the Paris Photo-Aperture First Book Award, Kassel PhotoBook Festival and the Photo España Best Book Award.
ISBN RM Verlag 978-84-16282-64-7
Lobismuller tells the story of Manuel Blanco Romasanta, Spain’s bloodiest and most enigmatic serial killer, from a female perspective. Manuel was born Manuela and originally believed to be a woman: according to modern forensic theories, he (or she) may have lived with a rare syndrome of intersexuality. Blanco Romasanta was dubbed the “Soapmaker,” owing to his habit of using the fat of victims to produce high-quality soap. Although confessing to nine of the seventeen murders now attributed to him, Blanco Romasanta pleaded not guilty, declaring himself the victim of a curse that had transformed him into a wolf.
Shortlisted for The Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards 2014Hardback, 172 pages
248mm x 190mm
This is the story of the Robinson family – and the aftermath of losing their 26 year-old daughter to bulimia
Working closely with the family Laia Abril explores the dilemmas and struggles confronted by many young girls and their families; the problems families face in dealing with both their sense of guilt and the grieving process; the frustration of close friends and the dark ghosts of this deadliest of illnesses; all blended together in the bittersweet act of remembering a loved one.
Thousands of young couples from every corner of the planet are setting up businesses, simply and quickly, from the comfort of their own bedrooms. Usually unemployed, affected by the hopeless crisis of our days, members of the “Facebook Generation” and unafraid of exposing their intimacy for few hundred bucks a week; these enterprising pairs offer sex performances online. Their virtual, on-demand peepshows can be found on several websites, where you can watch them waiting “ready to have sex for you” on live stream until the moment you decide to pay for action.
Tediousphilia Book is a project in collaboration with the Art Director Ramon Pez, based on my photographic series which documents the boringness and tedium suffered by vernacular webcam sex-performer couples in the standby, before-sex moment in the not-that-virtual second-life.
First be warned, this is a troubling, if not disturbing, photobook.
As such, it is a photo-documentary of a community of mostly young women who appear to obsessively starving themselves to death. In a bazaar twist on social networking, these women post and share self-portraits of their current anorexia state amongst themselves. .
As a social documentary artist, Laia Abril has researched this self-destructing group by re-photographing what these women have posted about themselves on certain web sites and other social media. In by so doing, she calls attention to the act of social networking as well as photography as a medium to propagate an illness.
Abril asks the rhetorical question; does photography help them to be aware of reality or has the camera turned into another trick for anorexia to control their body and perpetuate the distortion of their own image? To what extent does photography influence the deterioration of their illness?
Abril mashes the subject’s self-portraits with text that the members post. Concurrent with the posting of their self-portraits, the pro-ana (anorexia) members provide “encouragement” on their quest to become invisible, to physically waste away.
The photographs reveal how the subjects document their current state of “success”, usually standing partially undressed or nude in front of large mirrors situated in bathrooms or bedrooms, posing to reveal the their protruding rib and hip bones, sunken stomachs or boney wrists or legs that are skinner than their knees. Abril edited and designed the layout of the resulting photographs to create a visual map of this destructive state of mind with the double gate-folds hiding and then revealing this complex condition, perhaps symbolic of how the women attempt to conceal/reveal what they are attempting to accomplish.
Indirectly, Abril has created a social commentary about and an investigation into what constitutes beauty and femininity, while exposing an addiction that has serious, if not deadly, consequences.
As a photobook object, it is a complex stiff cover book constructed of a series of double gatefolds. The introduction is by Silvia Omedes and the Afterword is by Abril with the text provided in Spanish and English.
As an interesting publishing note, the book was designed in collaboration with Ramon Pez and Guillermo Brotons with Edition Consulting by Christina de Middel and Silvia Omedes. Pez and Abril had similar roles in the publication of Christina de Middel’s The Afronauts, one of the most interesting artist photobook in 2012.
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