London

Sarah Lucas

Sadie Coles HQ | Balfour Mews

Matisse may have wanted his art to be “something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue,” but many other modern artists have, on the contrary, sought an art that attains the condition of a bad one. There’s no chance of anyone ever sitting comfortably on the stool in Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel, 1913, on Beuys’s Fat Chair, 1963, or on Warhol’s Electric Chair, 1964. Salvador Dalí, who in the ’30s made a sofa based on Mae West’s lips and a stool whose back consists of a pair of predatory arms, decreed that a chair “can be used to sit on, but on condition that one sits on it uncomfortably.”

The furniture in Sarah Lucas’s assemblages energetically occupies this same discomfort zone. The specially commissioned sculptures deftly inserted into the Freud Museum make an effective contrast to their ultracivilized surroundings. From the famous leather couch, swaddled in oriental

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