Two Melons and a Stinking Fish TV - Whitechapel Gallery online - The Guardian online -
The aspect of sex which is dirty ... wouldn’t even be so enjoyable if it wasn’t. Two Melons and a Stinking Fish, BBC 2013
I’ve always liked toilets. ibid.
The bawdy euphemisms, repressed truths, erotic delights and sculptural possibilities of the sexual body lie at the heart of Sarah Lucas’s work (b 1962). First coming to prominence in the 1990s with a show at London’s City Racing memorably titled, Penis Nailed to a Board, this British artist’s sculpture, photography and installation have established her as one of the most important figures of her generation.
Lucas’s materials – furniture, clothing, food – are sculptural and associative. Nylon tights provide a useful casing: stuffed with wadding they become splayed limbs of female bodies. Tights are also intimate, erotic, yet cheap and disposable, both glamorous and abject. Lucas’s objects also draw on art history; her frequent use of toilet bowls recalls Duchamp’s urinal, the first ready-made.
Stained mattresses, sofas and chairs act as plinths for ‘bodies’ sometimes situated against the surreal domesticity of Lucas’s wallpapers. Her figures are all headless. There is only one face, that of the artist herself, omnipresent through a sequence of self-portraits. Whitechapel Gallery online
It is surprising to find someone whose most well-known work is so urban – kebabs, fried eggs, dirty public toilets, grimy, paint-splattered walls, burned-out cars; so saturated with the sense of the London she grew up in – tucked away down a long country lane, behind a Baptist church in Suffolk. Even the local cab drivers seem to have a hard time finding the house, and so Sarah Lucas waits outside in the sunshine, barefoot, in a torn blue dress, dust caught in her unbrushed hair. The Guardian online article Aida Edemariam 27th May 2011
There are a lot of penises in Sarah Lucas’s Whitechapel exhibition. Big dicks, little fag-end dicks and absolutely humongous members. Lucas is also something of a comedian, but that is to belittle a talent that is uncomfortable, uncompromising, and much broader and richer than that of a potty-mouthed standup. Cocks, tits, fags, bums, blokes and their blokeish parts and their blokey ways are all here, along with a giant hunk of Spam and a mobile of concrete pies. Then there are the readers’ wives and human toilets. The show, visitors are advised, might not be suitable for children. The real problem is for adults, who might have to answer all the little blighters’ questions ...
Lucas’s Whitechapel show is both enormously enjoyable and awful: awful because much of what she shows us about our relationship to the human body and our psyches is as grim as it is hilarious – the toilet as an extension of the human digestive tract, as receptacle not just of waste but of parts of ourselves, dark thoughts as well as dark matter. She can bring us up short: a cigar and a couple of walnuts are balanced on the rim of a begrimed loo. I imagine the smell of the cigar and the taste of walnuts. It’s stomach-churning. The Guardian online article 30th September 2013, Adrian Searle