mythology, gender and sexuality
Texan-born London-based artist Gray Wielebinski is the latest visionary taking up residency at Selfridges Art Block. Now in its sixth instalment of the series, previous residents of the department store’s space include Holly Hendry who rendered a pastel pink installation titled Phyliss, Matthew Darbyshire’s reinterpreted statues of deities and William Darrell’s 3-D printed kinetic sculptures. Dissecting themes of desire, mythology, gender and sexuality in his work across a multitude of mediums, Wielebinski has refashioned the humble toilet for his time at Selfridges.
Titled Exhibition, the installation places the public bathroom as a monument of both sanctuary and secrecy. Taking inspiration from Victorian Gothic architecture, the structure is comprised of ornate vanity screens in an ode to remembering a time when women’s access to public toilets was limited, a full circle moment considering Selfridges was the first department store to open women’s public toilets in the 20th century. Equally referencing the connotations these public spaces hold as cruising sites and the conflicting visions of bathrooms amidst transphobic “bathroom panics,” Wielebinski’s installation holds a magnifying glass up to the troubles of past and present.
Speaking of his latest work, Wielebinski said; “My installation plays with the history of the department store bathroom as a place designed to sanitize women’s existence in public, replacing the invocation of sex work with the respectable, even the utopic idea of autonomy via consumer culture.”
Gray Wielebinski’s Exhibition will be on display at Selfridge’s Art Block until October 23rd, more info here.