NUD 16, 2009
Tights, fluff, wire
11 3/4 x 18 1/2 x 14 5/8 in, 30 x 47 x 37 cm
© Sarah Lucas, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London
Sarah Lucas’ sculptures have the extraordinary ability to weave the language of traditional sculpture with the abject and confrontational. Much like Henry Moore, Lucas takes elements of classical bodies and...
Sarah Lucas’ sculptures have the extraordinary ability to weave the language of traditional sculpture with the abject and confrontational. Much like Henry Moore, Lucas takes elements of classical bodies and moves them into a highly contemporary landscape. She incorporates the gravitas of sculptural form with the stark realities of the human body and what it is to be physically alive.
The smooth yet writhing curves of 'NUD 16' are reminiscent of Henry Moore’s surrealist carvings. From afar the work appears to have all density and weight of modernist sculpture, yet it is uncannily soft, made from tights and fluff. Placed on a plinth as if a reclining nude, Lucas’s 'NUD 16' contradictorily suggests both the internal and external of the body. It takes the texture and colour of white Caucasian skin but has the shape of a coiled intestine in a subversion of the human silhouette.
Through its materials and composition 'NUD 16' also seeks to reframe the tradition of the nude which has been upheld through art history by the likes of Henry Moore. Tights are seen as distinctly feminine garments and delicate, yet Lucas stuffs them and offsets them against the rough texture of the ‘masculine’ breezeblocks and MDF. The tights stand for female flesh, with the implicit irony of being designed to cover it. 'NUD 16' produces a very different form of eroticism to Moore’s reclining nudes – one which focuses upon the visceral nature of the body removed from classical idealisation.
NUD 16 comes from Lucas’ iconic series of NUDs begun in 2009. Pieces from this body of work are held in many major museums, such as NUD CYCLADIC 6 in Tate’s collection and NUD CYCLADIC 9 owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Sadie Coles HQ, London
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above in 2011)
Sadie Coles HQ off site, 13 Dover Street W1, Sarah Lucas: NUDS, 12 October – 07 November 2009
Sarah Lucas - After 2005, Before 2012, Koenig Books Ltd and Sadie Coles HQ, London, 2012, pp.88 & 90-91 illus.
This work is recorded in the Sarah Lucas archives under no. HQ13-SL7294S.