Magazine article Artforum International

Sarah Lucas

Magazine article Artforum International

Sarah Lucas

Article excerpt

SITUATION

There's the briefest phase during early puberty when one's hapless ignorance of firsthand sex is combined with an obsessive curiosity for all its obscene details, weirdly accompanied by a childish revulsion toward the whole stinking business. This is that awkward age when the frankest of questions ("What is cunnilingus?") find their way to the dinner table, followed by the inevitable "Do you guys do it?" and the equally inevitable squeals of horror if even the most liberal of parents attempt a response. Terror and hilarity mix in fine proportion, fueling more queries, fits of laughter, and tactless curiosity, and quickly veering toward real knowledge thanks to the energies of some forgettable local teenager.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Sarah Lucas's sculptures--all cracks and bulges, surrogate cunts, nipples, tits, and dicks--seem to exist forever suspended in that fleeting preteen moment of wide-eyed initiation into the hideous delights of sex. Looping tubes of panty hose filled with pillow stuffing intertwine in ecstasy, their mottled surfaces able to suggest all at once fine marble, uncooked sausage, and dimpled thighs (NUD 27, 2012). Stuffed, bone-less legs and clenched butts straddle chairs (Make Love, 2012), while a colony of nylon breasts (with alarmingly flimsy nipples provided by panty-hose tips) proliferate like a cancer over a bulbous hanging chair (Mum Mum, 2012). As seen in "Make Love" and "Miss Jumbo Savaloy," the first two of four back-to-back exhibitions at Situation, a yearlong project space devoted to Lucas's work (and located above Sadie Coles HQ), what makes Lucas's work extraordinary is the contradiction between the puerility of her subject matter and the sophistication of her sculptural language, so knowing about weights and counterweights, shadows and shades, solids and voids. She succeeds on the very terms of classical sculpture through her miraculous ability to animate lifeless matter with believably living energy. …

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