Sarah Lucas Shocks and Delights in Venice with Genitalia-Filled Pavilion

The show includes casts of the body of gallerist Sadie Coles, among other women.

True to her subversive style, Sarah Lucas’s presentation for the British Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale hasn’t left anyone indifferent.

Titled “I SCREAM DADDIO,” the exhibition features a cluster of sculptures where human bodies—and genitalia in particular—dominate the scene.

The exhibition is not yet open to the public—the crowds will have to wait until May 9 to descend upon the national pavilions and the Arsenale—but during the press preview of the Biennale, which started this morning, Lucas’s Venice outing set tongues wagging and eyes popping.

Sarah Lucas, Deep Cream Maradona, British Pavilion 2015<br>Photo: Cristiano Corte © British Council

Sarah Lucas, Deep Cream Maradona, British Pavilion 2015
Photo: Cristiano Corte © British Council

Of the group of sculptures that inhabit the intense yellow-painted pavilion, it is perhaps Deep Cream Maradona which commands the most attention. The towering sculpture seems to depict a scrawny male figure reclined on the floor, and sporting a gigantic erection.

But Lucas is certainly not prioritizing or enshrining the male form. A large number of works in the exhibition feature female bodies, particularly legs spread apart or riding objects, genitals and buttocks in plain view.

“No one’s told me off about the fannies yet,” Lucas told Charlotte Higgins from the Guardian. “You don’t tend to see ’em much, do you, outside of pornography. […] Yes, I am a feminist, and it is a feminine show. I am not on my soapbox about it, but yes, I wanted this to be a strong feminine show, ” she added, in case anybody was wondering.

According to Higgins, the army of female forms and limbs was crafted over a long summer in London, during which Lucas met with a group of female friends—including her gallerist Sadie Coles and the chef Margot Henderson—and engaged in sessions where they casted each other in plaster. Moreover, Lucas has said that these women are her “muses.”

Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015<br>Photo: Cristiano Corte © British Council

Sarah Lucas, “I SCREAM DADDIO” installation view, British Pavilion 2015
Photo: Cristiano Corte © British Council

“Sarah is one of our foremost artists and it is entirely appropriate that she should be representing the UK in Venice, the grandest of stages,” Emma Dexter, commissioner of the British Pavilion, said in a statement. “Sarah has risen to the occasion, her provocative new pieces interrogate our assumptions about gender and domesticity, drawing on her previous work but on an unprecedented scale,” she added.

As VIPs and journalist start to explore the dozens of national pavilions at the Biennale, Lucas’s seems to be racking up raving headlines already.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics