Sarah Lucas was born in London. She studied at the London College of Printing and graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 1987. She participated in the group exhibition Freeze, curated by fellow Goldsmiths’ student Damien Hirst in 1988, and the East Country Yard Show, which she co-curated in 1990.
Using the simplest of materials combined with an urban sensibility, Lucas’s sculptures have a raw energy, the confrontational nature of which is undercut by a wry sense of humour leaving the viewer both provoked and amused. There are serious concerns which under-pin her work addressing such themes as sex and death. Two Fried Eggs and a Kebab, 1992 and Bitch, 1995, challenge accepted stereotypes with their crude portrayal of women; and death is very much in evidence in Is Suicide Genetic, 1996 and Life’s a Drag Organs, 1998, which feature respectively a burnt-out armchair with a crash helmet made of cigarettes, and two burnt-out cars with the seats and parts of the exteriors also decorated with cigarettes.
For her most recent series of works entitled NUDS, the artist uses stuffed and convoluted nylon stockings to suggest aspects of the female form. Part of a larger series of works, collectively entitled ‘NUDS’, the works recall Lucas’s 1997 series of ‘Bunny’ sculptures, which explicitly explore the female form, using tights, stockings and furniture. The NUDS are more abstract and their amorphous shapes link them formally with the organic, universalised aesthetics of Henry Moore or Barbara Hepworth.
Lucas had her first solo exhibition in 1992 at City Racing, an artists’ run gallery in south London, and her first solo show in New York at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery in 1995. The following year she had a solo exhibition at the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam and was the subject of a BBC television documentary, Two Melons and a Stinking Fish. She has exhibited widely and her work has been shown in many important group exhibitions including: Brilliant! New Art from London at the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis in 1996, Sensation: Young British Artists in the Saatchi Collection at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 1997, Real/Life: New British Art which toured to five museums in Japan in 1998-99, and Intelligence: New British Art 2000 at Tate Britain, London. In 2000 she had solo exhibitions in London, Tokyo and Barcelona. A major retrospective of her work was presented at Tate Liverpool in 2005.
Recent exhibitions include, SITUATION – a space dedicated to her work at Sadie Coles, London – which hosted eight consecutive shows in 2012/13; Tramway, Glasgow (2014), ‘NOB + Gelatin’, Secession, Vienna (2013-14), and ‘SITUATION Absolute Beach Man Rubble’, Whitechapel Gallery, London 2013.