In her work for Bus-Tops, Brigitte Stepputtis creates a work that makes a knowing reference to London’s long and complex history with prostitution – one in which that famously uncomfortable British attitude towards sex has always been at its most fraught- as a means of teasing out a number of the key political and societal questions that lie at the heart of her practice as an artist. For example, the most potentially confrontational aspect of the work – phrases and phone numbers left by sex workers- is also the most directly documentary, a reconstruction of details captured in the photographs in existing London phone boxes in the neighbourhood from which the work takes its name.
The second aspect of the work, a seemingly abstracted pattern that might allude to anything from bodily fluids to infectious antigens or even the blood spatter patterns left by killers and abusers of prostitutes (Londoners need no reminding of the world’s ongoing fascination with Jack the Ripper!) turns out to be equally documentary. In this case, it is a detail of the pattern of glue left on the glass of a phone booth from which prostitutes’ cards have been removed; an remnant of that ever-so-English battle between the forces of decency and vice.