Sarah Lucas – Kevin (2013) & Florian (2013)
As a prominent member of the Young British Artists (YBA), the equally famous and notorious group of visual artists, Sarah Lucas (b. 1962) took the international art world by storm in the early 1990s. She became known as a unique and provocative artist who, with a great sense of dirty humour and satire, undermines stereotypical opinions about gender and sexuality with objects, installations, photographs and mixed-media works on paper.
Gallery rooms filled with allusions to penises, based on cucumbers, milk bottles and gigantic erect plaster sculptures, along with chairs, tables and mattresses equipped with utensils, vegetables and sculpted objects in the form of genitalia, breasts and women’s legs all fill Lucas’s exhibition spaces, sometimes making visitors laugh awkwardly – and frequently disgusting them. The human body plays a large role in her oeuvre and is presented in an erotic yet terrifyingly fragmented and deformed way, always making the fragile human condition intensely palpable.
For DELIRIOUS, Lucas presented two giant courgettes cast in guilded bronze, Kevin, and concrete, Florian. The courgette has often featured in Lucas’s work before, sometimes flat on its back and sometimes with the ends curving upwards. This is clearly functioning as a phallic symbol but also as a reference to contests in the English pastoral tradition, in which mainly men compete to grow the biggest vegetables.
With their large scale and organic forms, they are reminiscent of the work of Lucas’s predecessors: British modernist sculptors like Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. In the park setting, the vegetables appeared both imposing and monumental and yet also comical and absurd. The concrete sculpture is plain and tough; the bronze version is gleaming and majestic. The sculptures are on the one hand immediately recognizable as vegetables, but on the other hand disorienting because of their scale and material. But, above all, they are extremely inviting. Wherever Lucas has exhibited her giant vegetables, young and old have gratefully used them to sit and lie upon. Visitors to De Oude Warande were also welcome to use Kevin and Florian as couches.