Lot 59
  • 59

Sarah Lucas

120,000 - 150,000 GBP
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  • Sarah Lucas
  • NUD 16
  • tights, fluff and wire
  • 30 by 47 by 37cm.; 11 3/4 by 18 1/2 by 14 5/8 in.
  • Executed in 2009, this work is unique.


Sadie Coles Gallery, London

Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 2011


London, Sadie Coles Gallery, NUDS, 2009 


Colour: The colour in the catalogue illustration is fairly accurate although the overall tonality is lighter in the original with less red undertones. Condition: This work is in very good and original condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

NUD 16 is a beguiling example of Sarah Lucas’s most recent and ambitious body of works: NUDS. Signalling an important development in her artistic trajectory, here tights stuffed with fluff are contorted using wire to create enticing, lithe, anthropomorphic forms that slither, twist and bulge with unrestrained eroticism and sensuality, powerfully reaffirming the key tenets of Lucas’s practice, which centre upon unbridled lust, abjectness and the interplay between sex and death. The transient nature of the sculpture’s materials looks back to what is arguably Lucas’s most famous series – her Bunny works of 1997. Sculptural tableaux that similarly incorporate stockings stuffed with cotton and wire, the Bunny sculptures were shaped into the lower torso and legs of the female anatomy. Affixed to their chair supports by clamps, the mannequins sit lifelessly in sexually suggestive positions whilst their headless bodies curiously slither off chairs like cousins of the supine nude in Marcel Duchamp’s Étant Donnés. An extraordinarily exciting and significant new corpus of work, three examples of the NUD series are held in the prestigious collection of the Tate, London, whilst NUD 16 is the first to ever appear for public sale.

Diverging from the clear human form of the Bunny sculptures, the NUDS tend more towards abstraction. Displayed on raw and roughly wrought plinths comprised of breeze blocks, their organic, primal shapes immediately evoke the soft smooth lines of Henry Moore’s monumental bronze figures, whilst the deliberate suggestion of corporeal fragments, limbs and breasts is a measured nod to the macabre maquettes of surrealist sculptor Hans Bellmer and the morphing geometries of Louise Bourgeois’ corporeal knitted sculptures. The stockings that Lucas uses to form her NUDS are charged with a certain ambiguity; they appear at once fragile and disposable whilst at the same time sturdy, enriched with the aura of carved stone or flesh and provide the viewer with the same enjoyment of seeing Renaissance sculpture in the round. Brimming with ambiguity, even their title NUDS is uncertain. Suggestive of nudes, knots or even nodes, NUD 16 is replete with allusions, puns and Lucas’s iconic play with slang language.

Soaring to prominence in the early 1990s as a founding member of the yBas (young British artists), Lucas’s work has commanded critical and commercial attention since her electrifying debut 25 years ago. Indeed, the past two years have proven to be a milestone moment in the artist’s career as global interest in her work has soared. Cementing the timeless relevance of her work, Lucas was recently featured in two of the most important international surveys of contemporary art: the 2013 Carnegie International and the central exhibition of the 2013 Venice Biennale, Massimiliano Gioni’s The Encyclopedic Palace. Having only recently closed her highly praised retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, this summer Lucas has been accorded the prestigious accolade of representing the United Kingdom at the 2015 Venice Biennale with a solo outing in the halls of the Giardini’s historic British pavilion. Critic Louisa Buck perfectly describes this momentous achievement: “[Lucas] has taken the British Pavilion and made it exuberantly – but also surprisingly elegantly – her own… All the galleries have been painted a creamy custard yellow, and populated by white plaster casts of what she calls her ‘muses’, which could be read as the sculptural substitute for the bobbing meringues. Yet this jokiness is just one aspect of what is one of the strongest British Pavilions in recent years, and which confirms Lucas’s strength and maturity as a sculptor… Taking on the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is always a high stakes challenge, and Sarah Lucas has done us – and herself – proud” (Louisa Buck, ‘Sarah Lucas’s bawdy British Pavilion, Venice Biennale’, The Telegraph, 8 May 2015, online resource).