Artist: Sarah Lucas
Venue: The British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Exhibition Title: I SCREAM DADDIO
Date: May 9 – November 22, 2015
Photos by Contemporary Art Daily
Sarah Lucas’s works for the British Pavilion reprise and reinvent the themes that have come to define her powerfully irreverent art – gender, death, sex, and the innuendo residing in everyday objects. Throughout this latest group of works, the body – sexual, comedic, majestic – remains a crucial point of return, while Lucas’s work continues to confront big themes with a distinctive wit.
“Humour is about negotiating the contradictions thrown up by convention. To a certain extent humour and seriousness are interchangeable. Otherwise it wouldn’t be funny. Or devastating.” – Sarah Lucas
Works include Maradona, a grandiose figure in joyous repose – part man, part maypole, part praying mantis – which stands in duplicate at the centre of the exhibition. Named after the iconic Argentine footballer, the figure squats on the ground while an enormous phallus soars majestically into the air.
The female body features more literally in a series of plaster sculptures of fragmentary pairs of legs which are gracefully animated through their combination with the ordinary domestic furniture that has featured since Lucas’s earliest installations. These bawdy, empowered muses form a chorus line that upends the traditional objectification of the female form in male art history, while recalling the incomplete bodily casts Lucas has created throughout her career, such as You Know What (1998) or CNUT (2004).
Other works are more domestic in scale and subject. Lucas’s Tit Cat sculptures – again derived from models made from stuffed tights – combine the wiry forms of cats with tied-off, drooping orbs suggestive of breasts. Arching and prancing, their tails variously drooping and rearing, these strange metamorphic creatures epitomise the way in which Lucas’s art slides between real and surreal registers.