On February 6th, Museum of Sex premiered Catalonian artist Laia Abril’s eye-opening multifaceted show entitled “On Abortions… and the repercussions of lack of access” based around her 2018 book of the same name.
The project is a part of a greater body of work, “A History of Misogyny”, which explores Abril’s own personal experiences as well as other’s around the world in stories told through physical objects such as medical instruments, video, spoken word, cartography, and her personal specialty- photography. Abril’s research into abortion has led to the exposure of many subtopics that have not been covered by outlets readily accessible by the general public. Personal stories; for example, that are a product of many individual’s trust in both the project itself and the artist’s process, are invaluable to the uniqueness of the exhibition and the impact upon the viewer. In two small rooms, 75+ years of abortion rights (or lack there of) are covered, leaving one to wonder what (if anything) has changed throughout these years, and what the future holds for the millions of women across the globe who seek this procedure- many times in hostile environments. After following a series of photos depicting stories of abortions occurring in the 20th century, one is led through the galleries to a red phone, as one would find in the 1970s. The voice on the other line is a male speaking on abortion in a harsh, manic tone, making threats to the listener. In the context clues left by the timelines of the works in proximity to the phone, one would assume the phone call was an artifact of a previous time; however, disturbingly enough, upon further investigation, the phone call was recorded in the not-so-distant past.
“On Abortions” is a relevant, educational, and consequential exhibition that is a must-see for anyone interested in opening their mind and hearts to the gravity of the topic and to those who have experienced the repercussions of repression themselves.