The British Council is delighted to announce that Sarah Lucas has been selected to represent Britain at the 56th Venice International Art Biennale. She will present a major solo show in the British Pavilion, which will run from 9 May to 22 November 2015. The Artistic Director of the 56th International Art Biennale will be Okwui Enwezor.
Widely recognised as one of Britain's foremost contemporary artists, Lucas's work has consistently been characterised by its irreverent humour and deft use of ‘readymade' objects – furniture, food, tabloid newspapers, tights, toilets, cigarettes. By turns lewd and lyrical, punning and paradoxical, her art continues to deal frankly with sex, death, abjectness and the slippery notion of Englishness. “Humour is about negotiating the contradictions thrown up by convention”, Lucas has said. “To a certain extent, humour and seriousness are interchangeable. Otherwise it wouldn't be funny. Or devastating.”
The 2015 Venice Biennale Selection Committee, which advises the British Council on the UK's representation in the British Pavilion, is made up of the following members:
Charles Darwent, Art Critic and Writer
Lisa Le Feuvre, Head of Sculpture Studies, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds
Hannah Firth, Director of Visual Arts, Chapter, Cardiff
Margot Heller, Director, South London Gallery
Francesco Manacorda, Artistic Director, Tate Liverpool
Francis McKee, Director, Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow
Gregor Muir, Executive Director, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
Polly Staple, Director, Chisenhale Gallery, London
On Lucas' selection for Venice, Gregor Muir states: “In recent years, Sarah Lucas has affirmed her status as a leading international artist with exhibitions in Berlin, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Mexico City, New York and Vienna. Having consistently pushed the limits of her practice, there's a sense that Lucas - seemingly more active than ever - is coming into her own. Initially entering the fray as a young British artist, Lucas continues to make her presence known through a powerful and progressive relationship with her work. Her output remains urgent while being rooted in a rich artistic tradition, to include feminism and surrealism. Running through her 'NUDs' and plaster phalluses, self-portraits and readymade sculptures, one finds a compelling interrogation of sexual form.”
Andrea Rose, British Council Director of Visual Arts and Chair of the Venice Biennale Selection Committee, has said: “To prick convention could be a term coined for Lucas’ work. It’s impolite. Like zest in the artworld mix, her work will bring wit and savour to the Biennale. The Committee has chosen a formidably inventive sculptor to represent Britain.”
Lucas’ work has been presented in solo exhibitions around the world. Her latest exhibitions include a survey at Tramway, Glasgow (2014), ‘NOB + Gelatin’, Secession, Vienna (2013-14), and ‘SITUATION Absolute Beach Man Rubble’, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013).
Sarah Lucas is represented by Sadie Coles HQ, London; Gladstone Gallery, New York; Kurimanzutto, Mexico City and CFA, Berlin.