Sarah Lucas



Not on display

Sarah Lucas born 1962
Nylon tights, synthetic fibre, breeze blocks and steel wire
Displayed: 1857 × 430 × 430 mm
Purchased 2012


NUD CYCLADIC 3, along with NUD CYCLADIC 6 (Tate T13453) and NUD CYCLADIC 10 (Tate T13452), is one of a series of sculptures made in 2010 by Sarah Lucas collectively referred to as NUDS. Each is made from tan nylon tights stuffed with pale-coloured fluff and twisted into an ambiguous, biomorphic form, resting on top of a plinth made from breezeblocks stacked on a wooden base. The sheer nylon tubes, contorted into looped and knotted forms are at once suggestive of fleshy body parts and smooth mottled marble. While the shapes evoke limbs and orifices, it is not possible to fix the forms to a single figurative referent: the suggestion of one body part dissolves as the hint of another emerges.

In the catalogue for British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet, curator Tom Morton has written of the NUDS:

they are not quite male, or female, or even quite human. Looking at these bulbous shapes, we think of spilt guts and detumescent genitalia, of skin filigreed with varicose veins and the tender folds of a recently shaved armpit … Beached on their breezeblock plinths, Lucas’s sculptures might be interpreted as meat on a butcher’s block, or bodies on an autopsy table … although they are too restless, too squirmingly alive, to be reduced to a single reading ... Unbothered by the viewer’s gaze, they revel in their own polymorphous perversity, penetrating their own orifices in endless loops of pure physical sensation.
(Tom Morton in Hayward Gallery 2011, p.98.)

The NUDS are a continuation of Lucas’s earlier work with stuffed nylon tights and biomorphic forms. In 1997 she made the installation and exhibition Bunny Gets Snookered at Sadie Coles HQ in London, for which she stuffed variously coloured pairs of tights with cotton wadding to make Playboy ‘bunny girl’ forms, whose limply dangling arms and passively lolling legs provide a representation of abject femininity. The installation was subsequently split into its separate components; Pauline Bunny 1997 (Tate T07437) is one of the mannequins that made up the original installation.

Further reading
Anna Malik, Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel, London 2009, pp.33–5.
British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet, exhibition catalogue, Hayward Gallery, London 2011, p.98.

Helen Delaney
September 2011

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