Situation Part 3: Sarah Lucas; A ‘Rose Bush’, which grows from the toilet, has the most wonderful bouquet.
In the past I have been known to go by the name Rose Bush. (I have made work about her- the erotic authoress, with multiple failed marriages and a penchant for saving her engagement rings and wearing them all at once!) But here, Lucas has made the eight letters of the exhibition title, sit like flowers on stems of wire inserted into the bowl and round the U-bend of a toilet. If we assumed this bunch of ‘flowers’ was a gift from Rose’s lover, she has well and truly given him the push. Or perhaps the toilet is indicative of this resilience of the ‘bush’, would you judge me for (wishfully) thinking Lucas has made a monument, just for me?
Sarah Lucas, exhibition ‘Situation: Rose Bush’ 2012.
This is the third incarnation of ‘Situation’, which as I have mentioned in my other articles, will have a yearlong duration. What has, so far, been maintained throughout the series of shows is the up-front, in-your-face intimacy. Yet, somehow Lucas remains an oxymoron, creating works in which sexuality and filth are embodied without embarrassment.
The toilet is a fixture, for sanitation and it’s not unique. In this exhibition we enter what appears to be more like a communal room of toilets, another of the artists repetitive motifs. One is penetrated by a tube light, ‘Jesus’, 2011, one is suspended from the ceiling bellow a pair of hanging light bulb tits, ‘Maggi’, 2012, the third is the flower pot, ‘Rose Bush’, 2012 and the final one is cast in resin the colour of urine, lit from behind, it glows, ‘The Old In Out’, 1998.
Sarah Lucas, Maggi, 2012.
Sarah Lucas, The Old In Out’, 1998.
Lucas doesn’t attack masculinity in a conventionally feminist form, she appropriates the ‘unfeminine’ in an attempt to simultaneously expose the sexes and merge the gender gap. The back wall, has gradually been added to, now covered in large format prints it begins to take on a life of its own, the memory of the other images remain, a collage is forming, suggestive of billboard film and advertising posters, especially in the way that one is pasted straight over the last. The new image, ‘Untitled’, 2012, or as I call it, ‘kinky boots’ reminds me of Alexis Hunter and her ‘Radical Feminism’. They’re here in person too, titled ‘Jubilee’ 2012, a larger than life sexual symbol, eroticism is combine effortlessly with threat, this concrete fetish wear will hurt. And concrete, in it’s colour de jour (grey, but just the single shade!) virtually exudes masculinity- its hard, rock hard, solid as a rock.
Sarah Lucas Situation Rose Bush, installation shot, 2012.
Sarah Lucas, Jubilee, 2012.
Satisfaction seems the subject evoked most strongly by the potent playfulness employed by Lucas. Be it the satisfaction of exposing, exorcizing or exhorting, women and men, or the satisfactory sexual ambiguity of the big self-portraits, which neither repulse or seduce.
‘Situation Rose Bush’ was shown at Sadie Coles HQ, London, 14 June- 25 August 2012, ‘Situation White Hole’ follows, and is on now.
By Alison Humphrey