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Sarah Lucas.
Self-Portraits 1990 – 1998 (1999)
Sarah Lucas (born 1962) is a British artist. She is part of the generation of Young British Artists who emerged during the 1990s. Her works frequently employ visual puns and bawdy humour, and include photography, collage and found objects.

Life and work

Sarah Lucas was born in Holloway, Londonmarker, Englandmarker. She studied art at The Working Men's College, London College of Printing and Goldsmith's College, graduating in 1987. She was included in the group exhibition Freeze the following year, along with contemporaries including Angus Fairhurst, Damien Hirst, and Gary Hume. She 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.

Her first two solo exhibitions in 1992 were titled The Whole Joke and Penis Nailed to a Board. For six months in 1993, Lucas and fellow artist Tracey Emin rented a retail space in east London, The Shop, where they made artworks, ranging from printed mugs to T-shirts with slogans, and put them on sale.

Through her career, Lucas has continued to appropriate everyday materials to make works that use humour, visual puns and sexual metaphor to discuss sex, death, Englishness and gender.

In works such as Bitch (table, t-shirt, melons, and vacuum-packed smoked fish, 1995), she merges tabloid culture with the economy of the ready-made. In earlier work, she had displayed enlarged pages from the Sunday Sport newspaper.

Sarah Lucas is also known for her self-portraits, such as Human Toilet Revisited, 1998, a colour photograph in which she sits on a toilet smoking a cigarette. In her solo exhibition The Fag Show at Sadie Colesmarker in 2000, she used cigarettes as a material, as in Self-portrait with Cigarettes (2000).

In 1996 she was the subject of a BBC documentary, Two Melons and a Stinking Fish.

One-person museum exhibitions at Boymans-van Beuningen in Rotterdammarker, at Portikus in Frankfurtmarker, and at The Ludwig Museum in Cologne and the recent survey exhibition at Kunsthalle Zurich, Kunstverein am Hamburgmarker and Tate Liverpoolmarker have accompanied exhibitions in less conventional spaces—an empty office building for The Law in 1997, a disused postal depot in Berlinmarker for the exhibition Beautiness in 1999, and an installation at the Freud Museummarker called Beyond the Pleasure Principle in 2000.

Lucas’s work has been included in major surveys of new British art in the last decade including Brilliant!—New Art From London at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis in 1995, Sensation (Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection at the Royal Academymarker in 1997), and Intelligence—New British Art, 2000, at Tate Britainmarker. In 2003 Sarah Lucas participated in the 50th International Biennale of Art in Venice, Outlook: Contemporary Art in Athens, and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, a three person exhibition for Tate Britain with Angus Fairhurst and Damien Hirst in 2004. From October 2005 to January 2006, Tate Liverpoolmarker presented the first survey exhibition of Lucas's work.

Lucas lives in Suffolk and works in London, and is represented by Sadie Coles HQmarker, London, Barbara Gladstone, New York, and CFA Berlin.

Further reading

  • Yilmaz Dziewior & Beatrix Ruf (eds.), Sarah Lucas: Exhibitions and Catalogue Raisonné 1989 – 2000 (Osfildern-Ruit / London: Hatje Cantz Verlag / Tate Publishing), 2005
  • Sarah Lucas and Olivier Garbay, God is Dad (London: Sadie Coles HQ and Koenig Books), 2005
  • Matthew Collings, Sarah Lucas (London: Tate Publishing), 2002
  • Parkett, 45, 1995, pp. 76–115 [five articles by various authors]
  • M. Sladen: ‘'Vice and Versatility, A. Press, 214, June 1996, pp. 36–41.
  • Sarah Lucas (exh. cat., Rotterdam: Mus. Boymans—van Beuningen) 1996
  • Michele Robecchi, Sarah Lucas (Milan: Electa Mondadori), 2007


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