Sarah Lucas shot to art stardom in the late 1980s with her bawdy, sexually charged works depicting body parts crafted from mundane, ‘found’ objects. A lemon for a breast; an errant mattress for a body; flesh-coloured tights stuffed to the seams to resemble a jutting phallus, a leg (or both) – Lucas’ art, which brazenly comments on contemporary gender tropes, death and sexuality, played a pivotal role in the rise of Young British Artist movement of the 1990s.
During that explosive period – where Lucas and her fellow YBAs (Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume et al) partied like rock veterans – her provocative aesthetic frequently divided opinion, as did her so-called stance on feminism. Today, despite swapping her native north London for a more rural life in Suffolk, the British artist is still unwaveringly relevant. Her latest exhibit, titled Power in Woman, is currently on display inside the North Drawing Room of Sir John Soane’s museum, London. Pitched against egg yolk-yellow walls and classical furniture, the show presents three grey plaster-cast mouldings of her muses, Yoko, Michele and Pauline, affixed to chairs or tables in various positions.
As we’ve come to expect from Lucas, the sculptures provoke a delightfully mixed bag of reactions. Shock, at Lucas’ titillating pun on the traditional reclining female nude. Humour, at the stubby plaster fags pushed into belly button holes and bottoms (not forgetting the stark contradiction of the works against the museum’s classical decor). And lastly awe, at the soft, feminine elegance of the poses, and the versatile tactility exhibited by the same material. [Read More]
Power in Woman by Sarah Lucas in on view at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London until May 21, 2016.