Artist biography

English sculptor, installation artist and photographer. She studied at the Working Men's College (1982–3), London College of Printing (1983–4), and Goldsmiths College (1984–7) and emerged as one of the major Young British Artists during the 1990s, with a body of highly provocative work. In the early 1990s she began using furniture as a substitute for the human body, usually with crude genital punning. In works such as Bitch (table, t-shirt, melons, vacuum-packed smoked fish, 1995), she merges low-life misogynist tabloid culture with the economy of the ready-made, with the intention of confronting sexual stereotyping. As with earlier works in which she had displayed enlarged pages from the Sunday Sport newspaper, the intention was to attack stereotyping on its own ground, using a base language given critical viability by an affinity to previous movements such as Situationism and Surrealism. She is also known for her confrontational self-portraits, such as Human Toilet Revisited (1998; London, Tate), a colour photograph in which she sits on a toilet smoking a cigarette. In her solo exhibition The Fag Show (London, Sadie Coles, 2000), she explored her obsession with cigarettes as a material for art, suggesting the connection between smoking and sexually obsessive activity. The morbidity and provocative nature of her work has often elicited comparisons with Francis Bacon and Damien Hirst; her androgynous occupation of this masculine low-life domain gives her work much of its critical character. In 1996 she was the subject of a BBC documentary, Two Melons and a Stinking Fish.

Bibliography
Parkett, 45 (1995), pp. 76–115 [five articles by various authors]
M. Sladen: ‘Vice and Versatility', A. Press, 214 (June 1996), pp. 36–41.
Sarah Lucas (exh. cat., Rotterdam, Mus. Boymans—van Beuningen, 1996)
The British Art Show 5 (exh. cat., London, Hayward Gal., 2000)

JOHN-PAUL STONARD
10 December 2000

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