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National Gallery of Australia opens an exhibition of recent work by Sarah Lucas
Sarah Lucas, SUGAR, 2020, installation view, Project 1: Sarah Lucas, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2021 © the artist.

CANBERRA.- Opening this Saturday at the National Gallery of Australia, Project 1: Sarah Lucas brings together recent work by one of England’s most influential and unapologetic artists.

Over the past 30 years, Sarah Lucas has built an illustrious career challenging the social constructs of gender through sculpture, photography and performance art.

An artist well ahead of her time, Curator Peter Johnson wants Australians to know her name.

‘I think Australians are going to love Lucas – an artist who uses crude and humorous imagery to explore the representation of gender and confront the realities of bodily existence,’ said Johnson.

Project 1: Sarah Lucas features two recent sculpture series, including new works from the Bunny series she has been making since 1997. The title refers to the ‘bunnies’ of Playboy magazine fame, as they challenge the depictions of women in art and pop culture as the objects of male desire.

The National Gallery has acquired TITTIPUSSIDAD, 2018 – a work from Lucas’ new series of bronze and concrete sculptures that transform her soft stuffed figures into something hard and resilient.

‘These sculptures use humour to incorporate both male and female anatomy, breaking down the distinctions between genders,’ said Johnson.

‘While Lucas’ earlier Bunny works depicted the female body as sexuality available and spent, the newer figures are more triumphant as they revel in their power and sexuality – on their own terms, and you can see this in TITTIPUSSIDAD.’

Lucas’s sculptures are exhibited alongside rarely seen images of the artist’s first self portrait, Eating a Banana, which has been reproduced to more than seven metres high – covering the exhibition walls from floor to ceiling.

Lucas often uses food as a stand-in for body parts and in the act of consuming a banana while returning the viewer’s gaze, she playfully asserts her power in a male dominated world.

As Lucas says; “I’m not trying to solve the problem. I’m exploring the moral dilemma by incorporating it.”

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