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, 'Pauline Bunny' 1997

    Sarah Lucas
    Pauline Bunny 1997
    Mixed media
    object: 950 x 640 x 900 mm
    Presented by the Patrons of New Art (Special Purchase Fund) through the Tate Gallery Foundation 1998 Sarah Lucas

    View the main page for this artwork

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.