Critics’ Picks

Sarah Lucas, NUD CYCLADIC (16), 2010, tights, fluff, wire. Sculpture: 11 3/4 x 19 1/4 x 13“. Plinth: 16 7/8 x 16 7/8 x 16 7/8”.

Sarah Lucas, NUD CYCLADIC (16), 2010, tights, fluff, wire. Sculpture: 11 3/4 x 19 1/4 x 13“. Plinth: 16 7/8 x 16 7/8 x 16 7/8”.

Athens

Sarah Lucas

Museum of Cycladic Art
4, Neophytou Douka street
May 12–September 12, 2010

Sometimes the simplest idea can be very effective. A case in point: Sarah Lucas’s “NUDS” sculptures: nylon tights filled with kapok stuffing, resting on cement blocks atop wood pedestals. Although made from materials similar to those in her earlier “Bunny” series, these new biomorphic forms are notably minimalist, alluding to the work of artists such as Louise Bourgeois, who has an exhibition running concurrently at the same venue. Resembling human skin with varicose veins, Lucas’s bulbous shapes invite multiple interpretations, evoking both autoeroticism and a clusterfuck of contorted bodies—or perhaps the humiliating human pyramids that Abu Ghraib prisoners were forced to create.

Some of Lucas’s “NUDS” are rather naughty and invite viewers to play a kinky game of sorts—to spot how some of the configurations are modeled after hot lovemaking sessions or perhaps even a ménage à trois. These stand-ins for the human form seem unapologetic for their behavior. Yes, some of the doughy soft-pretzel shapes appear to be entering and exiting orifices, but the hilarity and obviousness of seminal works such as Two Fried Eggs and a Kebab, 1992, is long gone, replaced by a range of qualities, from tender and sexy to empathetic. One of the “NUDS” is installed sans wood pedestal, possibly signifying an earlier stage of development or the end of its life cycle. Despite using the same material in every piece, Lucas has managed to give each of the thirteen on view a distinct personality, and when observed as a group, the works emanate a pulsing life from within.