Sarah Lucas talks to Ben Luke about her influences—from writers to film-makers and, of course, other artists—and the cultural experiences that have shaped her life and work.
Lucas, born in London in 1962, is one of the most significant artists of her generation, both in the UK, where she was associated with the 1990s movement known as the Young British Artists (YBAs), and internationally, where she has been the subject of several significant recent institutional exhibitions.
Her practice primarily consists of sculpture, but it is often presented in distinctive installations in dialogue with photography, in the form of prints or wallpaper. Her work is characterised by sardonic and ribald humour, informed by colloquial language but also shot through with feminist theory and social commentary.
Formed from a wealth of materials, many of them everyday found objects like newspapers, food, furniture, cigarettes and clothing, her sculptures almost always evoke the body, however crudely reduced or abstracted. And while a humdrum frankness and bawdiness are ever present, Lucas’s sense of the strange and the uncanny locate her work within the legacies of Dada, Surrealism and absurdist art in Europe and the US.
She discusses her innovative approach to exhibition-making, and the liberating collaborations with Franz West that influenced them, and talks about how Yoko Ono informed some of her recent work. She reflects on an anarchic collaboration with the Austrian artist collective Gelitin. Plus, she gives insight into her working practices and studio life.
This podcast is sponsored by Bloomberg Connects, the arts and culture app.
The free app offers access to a vast range of international cultural organisations through a single download, with new guides being added regularly. They include Tate, whose four UK galleries include Tate Liverpool, where Sarah Lucas had a show in 2005, and Tate Britain, where her survey Sarah Lucas: Happy Gas is taking place (28 September-14 January 2024). There are also guides to several other museums and galleries where she has had important shows, including the Whitechapel Gallery in London and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Download the app and you’ll discover that the guide to the Hammer has features on its collection and temporary exhibitions, including Sanford Biggers’s remarkable sculpture Oracle, which the artist discusses in depth across several audio features.