Sarah Lucas will present her much anticipated solo exhibition in the British Pavilion as part of the 2015 Venice Biennale. This will be Lucas’ 20th solo presentation, following her major retrospective, SITUATION Absolute Beach Man Rubble at Whitechapel (2013). Most recently, a survey of her work featured at Tramway in Glasgow (2014).
Lucas has become recognised as one of Britain’s most significant contemporary artists in a career spanning two decades. Working with sculpture, photography and installation, her work has been characterised by irreverent humour the her use of everyday objects, from tabloid newspapers to furniture, to conjure up sexual puns and corporeal fragmenations. Lucas’s art has been termed simultaneously brutal and elegaic, lewd and lyrical, whilst fearlessly confronting ‘big themes’ such as sex, death and abjection.
Lucas has exhibited work around the world since she first caught the eye of critics as part of the group exhibition Freeze (1988) along with contemporaries Damien Hirst and Gary Hume. She has also worked with fellow Young British Artist Tracey Emin in the collaboration which saw the pair rent a space in east London, The Shop (1993), where they made artworks. Lucas is also known for her colourful self-portraits such as Human Toilet Revisited (1998), a photographic work featuring the artists sitting on a toilet smoking a cigarette- the first of many works which featured cigarettes as a key material. The Goldsmith college almnus’ confrontational solo exhibition The fag Show explored her obsession with cigarettes as a material, hinting at the connection beteween smoking and sexually obsessive activity.
For her most recent series of works, NUDS, Lucas used stuffed and convuluted nylon stockings to emulate aspects of the female form. The work harks back to her earlier 1997 series of ‘Bunny’ sculptures, which explore the feminine form more explicitly. The NUDS are more abstract, their amorphous shapes somewhat reminiscent of the organic style of Henry Moore or Barbara Hepworth.
Sarah Lucas: British Council commission for the British Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, until 22 November 2015. For more information visit www.labiennale.org/en and www.venicebiennale.britishcouncil.org
1. Sarah Lucas, Hysterical Attack (Mouths), 1999. Copyright the artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.