“Situation; Miss Jumbo Savaloy” Take one bite out of Sarah Lucas’s sausage… then take one more!
British people - PLEASE go see this show, then tell me all about it! It looks AMAZING.
“”Situation; Miss Jumbo Savaloy” Take one bite out of Sarah Lucas’s sausage… then take one more!” by Alison Humphrey
Situation is the one-year-lease gallery that Sadie Coles has given Sarah Lucas for five consecutive shows. Exclusively devoted to the work of Lucas, it’s organic program of events will be directed by the artist and extend displays to include new and historical works, mainly by Lucas and occasionally involving other invited artists. The intension is to recreate the vibrancy of her early work and impromptu exhibitions in this secure ‘situation’.
(Installation view, left; Priére de Toucher wallpaper, 2012 and MumMum, 2012 on the right)
The space will change intermittently with new installations presented for February, May, August and November 2012. The intelligent combination of sturdy and fragile elements results in the intimate presentation of grounded and suspended forms. Lucas has created emblematic representations of the female body with reference to ancient myth. A great deal of the artist work combines aesthetic arrangement with puzzle. Some may consider her new work soft, literally and metaphorically. Gone are the hard hitting ‘wanking’ arms (Get Hold Of This 1994), fiberglass is replaced by fiber stuffing, breasts replace rabbits as the motif de jour.
This, the initial incarnation of Situation, includes a show stopping Jumbo Savaloy of an artwork. For MumMum, Lucas has covered a hanging chair, suspended from the gallery ceiling, in breasts. Stockings formed and stuffed to appear like boobs, tits, all clustering together in a huddle. Lucas’s melons partaking in the ultimate mother’s meeting! Questioning particular materials historical associations with monumentality, Lucas shuns bronze in favor of hosiery. Nylon tights apply shorthand for grooming and the construction of femininity. As a material, this may seem at odds with the images usually evoked by Lucas, which primarily focus on the sexuality of women, but often stripped of the usual trappings of femininity.
(Sarah Lucas, MumMum, 2012, tights, fluff, chair frame, 144.7x82.5x109.2 cm)
Perhaps I find this artwork captivating for reasons relating to breast envy (not likely, two are quite enough), or breast fetishism (mastofact, mazophilia). Maybe it’s their capability, as an instrument of motherhood (infantile fixation), or their erotic significance. Incorporating a nest of all possible colour tights, here every breast seems represented. All shapes, all sizes, all colours. A work for everywoman, everywhere.
Ironically, on the subject of women, every woman, everywhere, Lucas has invited boyfriend Julian Simmons to exhibit a video alongside her work. The projection, entitled; I am Every Woman, depicts a man, writhing on a couch, wearing a pair of fake breasts. Covered in glitter, he enthusiastically rubs the sparkles all over his naked torso. The man is rugged, masculine and handsome (perhaps with breast partialism) but clearly, he lacks real ‘MumMum’.
(Julian Simmons, I am Every Woman, 2012, 4 minutes 9 seconds, lemon topped projector)
In the exhibition, as a whole, breasts are everywhere. An image of Lucas wearing a t-shirt with holes cut out to reveal the nipples dominates the back wall of the gallery (Priére de Toucher wallpaper). Providing a backdrop to the low hanging tit chair (MumMum) and another cluster of jugs which have formed around a metal grid and hang above a pair of kinky thigh-high concrete boots (Nice Tits). In the kitchenette, off of the main space, two fried eggs dangle from a coat hanger, above a raw chicken, flirting with the concept of, what came first, the chicken or the egg?! The artist does not flatter the viewer, but through implication and suggestion Lucas exposes “his or her filthy mind.” (Malik. 2009. 17)
Some objects in the exhibition seem randomly discarded, but are probably placed self referentially, a pair of lemons atop the projector, Tit Teddy, flopped on the sofa, hand between his legs.
The pitch (or poise) of all of the work oscillates between ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ positions of humor. Formulating a ruse, humor provides a strategy, to void the overtly sexual subject of the representation of sex. Lucas, through focusing on the subject of sex and sexuality, deploys innuendos rooted in vernacular culture that seem departed from feminist practice despite their feminine appearance. The playfulness of expression and humor imbued in the work actively resists the “weight of theory” (Malik. 2009. 5) Lucas’s work may prove significant to a later generation of artists who will be unburdened by the assumption that every female artist must address questions of gender.
(Installation view, Tit Teddy, 2012, slumped on the soft, and Nice Tits, 2011, concrete, wire mesh, tights, fluff, 208 x 160 x 60cm)
Popular readings of femininity associate with the image of woman in a position of passivity. But Sarah Lucas, with her ‘Jumbo Savaloy’ is anything but passive. Although Lucas is anything but phallic in this exhibition, which seems to focus (even in Simmons video) on the ultimate symbol for woman (and mother), the breast. Even if it makes me a mazophile I am not ashamed to admit that I am very attracted to Sarah Lucas’s ‘nice tits’. MumMum, sounds and looks like Mmmmmm and I would undoubtedly order Sarah Lucas’s Jumbo Savaloy again!
Collings. Matthew. 2002. ‘Sarah Lucas’. Tate Publishing, London.
Malik. Amna. 2009 ‘Sarah Lucas; Au Naturel’ Afterall Books, London.
Situation, Press release, 16-02-12
Sarah Lucas- Situation, List of Works Miss Jumbo Savaloy, 16-02-12