Image: Sarah Lucas, Divine 1991 from Self Portraits 1990-1998, 1999, Copyright the artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London © The Artist
Sarah Lucas was born in London in 1962. She studied at the Working Men’s College, the London College of Printing and Goldsmiths’ College, London where she and a group of fellow graduates, including Mat Collishaw, Damien Hirst and Gary Hume, became known as the Young British Artists (YBAs) through seminal exhibitions such as ‘Freeze’ (1988) and ‘Sensation’ (1997).
Lucas creates sculpture, installation and photography in which the body is the central subject – a theme in common with her friend the artist Tracey Emin, with whom in 1993 Lucas made and sold work from a shop on Bethnal Green Road in East London. Sometimes Lucas chooses to be explicit, as in her series of raw self-portraits from the 1990s, which feature the artist in a variety of poses – mundane, confrontational, introspective; in each instance curiosity is piqued by casually symbolic objects and punning titles. At other times the body is dissected and re-assembled through the use of food, fabric and cigarettes with a knowing suggestiveness and bawdy wit.
In NUD CYCLADIC 12 (2010), the artist uses stuffed and convoluted nylon stockings to suggest aspects of the female form. Part of a larger series of works, collectively entitled ‘NUDS’, the works recall Lucas’s 1997 series of ‘Bunny’ sculptures, which explicitly explore the female form, using tights, stockings and furniture. The ‘NUDS’ are more abstract and their amorphous shapes link them formally with the organic, universalised aesthetics of Henry Moore or Barbara Hepworth.