In celebration of the reopening of Tate Britain, Tate Etc. invited a selection of artists from around the world to choose a favoured work from a fellow artist currently on display. Here, contemporary artist Sterling Ruby reflects on Sarah Lucas
Sarah Lucas has always been a big influence of mine. Her straightforward approach to both the subject matter and materials feels genuine. Pauline Bunny is quintessential Lucas, stripped down and assembled out of stockings, a somewhat mid-century looking chair and a pair of metal clamps. Her works border on abstraction, while always suggesting a broken figurative shape or some stand-in for the physically collapsing body. Pauline Bunny is less of a full figure than it is a torso with two sets of legs, a thing stuck in-between sexualised formalism and figurative abstraction. It is a perfect sculptural object.
Like so much of Sarah’s art, it exists as an exquisite trap for heterosexual male desires: it is and it isn’t alluring. The sculpture alludes to eroticism, but delivers a punch in the gut to the libido and ego. In each Lucas work, there seems to be a heavy dose of autobiography and critiques of gender roles. I have always thought that she maintains an amazing balancing act between materials and content, humour and humiliation, social critique and personal revelation.
Sterling Ruby (born 1972) lives in Los Angeles.