March 6 – July 28, 2020
All images courtesy of Gladstone Gallery and the artist
Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new soft sculptures and bronzes by Sarah Lucas from her ongoing body of Bunnies, which she began making in 1997. Expanding her unique visual language of pantyhose, stuffing, and chairs, to include concrete, bronze, and steel, that Lucas has employed since her rise to international prominence in the mid-nineties, the works in this show demonstrate the artist’s powerful ability to transform utilitarian materials into conceptually complex objects that pose urgent questions about gender, sexuality, and identity. A concurrent exhibition of new works from this seminal series are on view at Sadie Coles HQ, London from March 16 through May 10, 2020.
Throughout her career, Lucas’s works have dealt candidly and humorously with the body while grappling with themes such as a sex, death, and the notion of Englishness, and the Bunnies masterfully capture these core elements of her practice. Comprised of stuffed pairs of tights placed ungracefully on chairs, the figures are meant to evoke splayed legs, highlighting the awkward, absurd, and vulnerable positions and situations these figures inhabit. While the Bunnies signify Lucas’s earliest examples of works that use stuffed stockings to create anthropomorphic human forms, Lucas began to expand their scope by creating a body of work entitled NUDS, which consists of abstract knots or contortions out of similar materials while also introducing gold-hued bronze and concrete. The NUDS started to take the shapes of slouching humanoid forms placed atop concrete brick pedestals transforming the suggestive knots into recognizable bodies. In this installation, Lucas has merged these contortions, also adding shoes into the mix, to create plump and luscious figures both de Sadean and mod. Each lump and seated torsion of perverted fun and twisted discipline is an affective and narrative turn: these are sweetened-up honeys, haus fraus out for a thrill, hens gone mad.
Sarah Lucas was born in London in 1962, and studied at the Working Men’s College (1982–83), London College of Printing (1983–84), and Goldsmith’s College (1984–87). She has been the subject of numerous exhibitions at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, including Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing (2019); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2019); New Museum, New York (2018); Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco | Legion of Honor (2017); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013); Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2012); Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli, Mexico City (2012); Tate Liverpool (2005); Kunsthalle Zürich (2005); Tate Britain, London (2004); Tate Modern, London (2002); the Freud Museum, London (2000); Museum Boymans-van Beunigen, Rotterdam (1996); Museum of Modern Art, New York (1993). In 2015, Lucas represented Britain at the 56th Venice Biennale, with the exhibition I SCREAM DADDIO.