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White Gray Black

Sarah Lucas (British, born 1962)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

English sculptor, installation artist and photographer. She studied in London at the Working Men’s College (1982–3), London College of Printing (1983–4), and Goldsmiths’ College (1984–7) and emerged as one of the major Young British Artists during the 1990s, with a body of highly provocative work. In the early 1990s she began using furniture as a substitute for the human body, usually with crude genital punning. In works such as Bitch (table, t-shirt, melons, vacuum-packed smoked fish, 1995; see exh. cat., 1996, pp. 54–5), she merges low-life misogynist tabloid culture with the economy of the ready-made, with the intention of confronting sexual stereotyping. As with earlier works in which she had displayed enlarged pages from the Sunday Sport newspaper, the intention was to attack stereotyping on its own ground, using a base language given critical viability by an affinity to previous movements such as Situationism and Surrealism. She is also known for her confrontational self-portraits, such as Human Toilet Revisited (1998; London, Tate), a colour photograph in which she sits on a toilet smoking a cigarette. In her solo exhibition The Fag Show (London, Sadie Coles, 2000), she explored her obsession with cigarettes as a material for art, suggesting the connection between smoking and sexually obsessive activity. Self-portrait with Cigarettes (2000; London, Saatchi Gal.), a self-portrait made with cigarettes, makes a connection between the obsessional, introverted activities of smoking and drawing. The morbidity and provocative nature of her work has often elicited comparisons with Francis Bacon and Damien Hirst; her androgynous occupation of this masculine low-life domain gives her work much of its critical character. In 1996 she was the subject of a BBC documentary, Two Melons and a Stinking Fish.

John-Paul Stonard
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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