Sarah Lucas's Ordinary Things

Henry Moore Institute show sparks lively review likening her to Cézanne, Michelangelo - and Viz magazine
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Sarah Lucas - Au Naturel 1994 Mattress, water bucket, melons, oranges and cucumber
Sarah Lucas - Au Naturel 1994 Mattress, water bucket, melons, oranges and cucumber

Sarah Lucas is as classical an artist as Cézanne or Michelangelo according to Charles Darwent in the Independent on Sunday but there's also something a bit Viz magazine about her too he reckons. In his lively review of the artist's new show, Ordinary Things, at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds he weighs up the work of the past mistress of the vegetal penis thus: "Mimesis: a Greek word, meaning something like "imitation"; the starting point of all art. Mix pigment with oil and paint a bowl of pears? Mimesis. Chisel marble into human flesh? Mimesis. Sculpt willies out of courgettes? You guessed it."

Indeed, the visitor to the Leeds show runs the gamut of mimetic willies, from Au Naturel (1994, an actual cucumber poking out of a mattress) to Courgette (2002, a concrete courgette lying on a shelf) which leads Darwent to riff on the theme of mimesis a little more: "Lucas's todgers are mostly not todgers at all, but vegetables (or nylon tights, or bits of wood) made to look like todgers. When they are actual penises, they behave in an un-penis-like way. Like the fruit in the fruitheads of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Lucas's squashes are insistently themselves and insistently not, recognisable as what they were and what they have become. As befits a once-Young British Artist, there is something resolutely British about these objects, a quality that links them with Viz magazine via the naughty postcards of Donald McGill, Carry On Matron and Benny Hill." We can't help thinking he's got a point. See for yourself at Ordinary Things until October 21.


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