Above is the cover of Sarah Lucas' catalogue from her exhibition at Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. The sculpture, 'Gourd', is a cement cast of..well, of a gourd! One of a series of cement casts of fruit and vegetables.
The catalogue reads;
'her concrete marrows and squashes have the fullness of the votive vegetables offered to fertility gods around the ancient Mediterranean.'
I like the contrast between the softness of the fruit and vegetables, and the hardness of the concrete; the greyness of the cast, with the real-life colour of the grown produce.
Below is the sculpture, 'The King', created from casts of plaster and wood.
The catalogue says of 'The King', that it is 'a mechanistic spiral of dagger-like paired plaster penises suspended over wooden blocks.'
I saw a whirling wheel; a swastika; a cross; an altar; a circle; action; movement. Delicacy of structure - it hangs from wires looking as though a sudden draft would cause it to fall. And solidity of materials - casts of wood and bone.
It has memories of archaeology too; the ancient picks used by neolithic people, made from deer antlers, with which they built Stonehenge, Callanish, and sundry other stone circles and monuments.
The catalogue says of this exhibition;
'In 'Ordinary Things', a selection of thirty-one works spanning 1993-2012, these processes take in cutting, moulding, handling, stuffing, displaying, and assembling , utilising conventions that move from the monumental to the ready-made, the formal and quick-build, via the representational, abstract and true-to-materials.'
'Lucas' use of found materials could be straight from the strategies of Arte Povera, that loose grouping of artists whose sculptures are resourceful compositions of objects and materials bearing the traces of use, responding to changing economic and artistic contexts.'
'Sarah just didn't think about making art that could easily be exhibited, or sold, or archived, or consider the practicalities of flogging it. In that way...her work was women's work, done because it had to be done, for its own sake. Its currency, like the flesh of the animals and vegetables Sarah uses as a medium, was soft and vulnerable, not hard and bankable.'