Laia Abril – On Abortion

Opening: 20.2.2018, 7 pm
Laia Abril will be present.
Exhibition: 21.2. – 24.3.2018

Hippocratic betrayal and obstetric violence
On February 2015, a 19-year-old pregnant woman ingested abortive pills in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. She started feeling abdominal pains, so her aunt took her to hospital. After she was treated, her doctor called the police, saying he would autopsy the fetus if she did not confess to trying to abort. She was handcuffed to her hospital bed, and freed only after paying a 250€ bail.Denunciation by doctors is not uncommon in Brazil, Peru or El Salvador.
Women who are reported for attempting abortion can be detained in hospitals for weeks or months. Many doctors claim they are legally required to notify authorities when they suspect an abortion, in contradiction of professional codes of doctor-patient confidentiality.
Note: photographic reconstruction.
Laia Abril.
Laia Abril “On Abortion” foto-forum, Bozen/Bolzano

 

 

Today, safe and efficient means of abortion exist, yet 47,000 women die due to botched abortions, every year. Laia Abril’s project On Abortion documents and conceptualizes these dangers and damages caused by women’s lack of legal, safe and free access to abortion. As she weaves her net of questions around ethics and morality, Abril also creates a series of meditative visual and textual manifestations of the social triggers, stigmas, and taboos around abortion that have remained invisible until now.

Portrait of Marta, 29, Poland
“On January 2, 2015, I traveled to Slovakia to have an abortion. [In Poland, abortion is illegal except in cases of sexual assault, serious fetal deformation, or threat to the mother’s life.] I was too scared to take DIY abortion pills alone. What if something went wrong? So I decided to get a surgical abortion in a clinic abroad. I felt upset about borrowing money for the procedure, and lonely and frustrated because I couldn’t tell anyone what was happening. The hardest part was facing my boyfriend, who opposes abortion. All the same, I felt stronger and more mature afterwards.” – Marta
Abortion is legal in nearly all EU countries, except Poland, Ireland and Malta. In Poland abortion is illegal except in cases of sexual assault, serious fetal deformation, or threat to the mother’s life. The official number of abortions performed in this country with 38 million inhabitants, is only about 750 per year. According to Dutch pro-choice organization Women on Waves, the real number is closer to 240,000.
Marta’s Portrait comes along a with a Photonovel on her illegal abortion.
Poland, 2016. Laia Abril.
Laia Abril “On Abortion” foto-forum, Bozen/Bolzano

On Abortion is the first chapter of Abril’s new long-term project A History of Misogyny – visual research undertaken through historical and contemporary comparisons – was an exhibition at Les Rencontres d’Arles in 2016 and a book, published by Dewi Lewis in 2017.

In the picture a set of household abortion tools. In places where abortion is illegal, certain medical instruments can be a giveaway. For this reason, specific supplies have rarely been developed or sold for this procedure. Instead, doctors, back-street abortionists and pregnant women turn to common household tools: knitting needles, wire clothes hangers, urinary catheters and a wide variety of other objects long enough to reach into the uterus.
In the history of coercive reproduction, before the legalization of abortion – and currently in the countries which remains illegal; was dominated for centuries by restrictive laws, based on demographic and religious agendas. Due the lack of alternatives, women was forced to apply dangerous methods for termination of her pregnancy, facing serious physical damage or even death. Both safe and very effective methods were only developed as of the middle of the last century.  The lives and the survival rate of women have thereby greatly improved.
Museum of contraception and Abortion, Vienna, Austria, 2015. Laia Abril.
Laia Abril “On Abortion” foto-forum, Bozen/Bolzano

Laia Abril (Barcelona, 1986) is a photographer, bookmaker and visual artist from Barcelona. After graduating in Journalism in Barcelona and studying photography in New York; she enrolled FABRICA’s artist residency where she worked at COLORS Magazine as a creative editor and staff photographer for 5 years.
Her projects have been shown internationally and her work is held in private and public collections including Musée de l’Elysée, Winterthur Museum in Switzerland or MNAC in Barcelona. In 2015 she was nominated for Foam’s Paul Huf Award and the Joop Swart Masterclass in 2014, and more recently she has been awarded with Premio Revelación PhotoEspaña and the Madame Figaro – Rencontres Arles award for her exhibition A History of Misogyny, chapter one: On Abortion.
She self-published Thinspiration in 2012, Tediousphilia (Musée de l’Elysée, 2014) and The Epilogue (Dewi Lewis, 2014), which was highly acclaimed and shortlisted for the ParisPhoto-Aperture First Book Award, Kassel PhotoBook Festival and Photo España Best Book Award. Her book-project Lobismuller (RM, 2016) won the Images Book Award and was presented in Paris Photo 2016.

Laia Abril “On Abortion” foto-forum, Bozen/Bolzano

 

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