For miart 2016, the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi and miart are presenting Sarah Lucas INNAMEMORABILIAMUMBUM, a special project by renowned British artist Sarah Lucas, curated by Massimiliano Gioni and Vincenzo de Bellis, conceived for the extraordinary setting of the Albergo Diurno Venezia baths and produced in collaboration with FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano and the City of Milan.
On Friday, April 8, Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10, during the twenty-first edition of Milan’s modern and contemporary art fair, the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi and miart, in partnership with FAI and the City of Milan, have invited the artist Sarah Lucas to create a project specifically conceived for the magnificent spaces of the underground baths designed in the early 1920s by architect Piero Portaluppi, which have been closed to the public since 2006 and were recently reopened for a few days through the initiative of FAI and FAI Delegation in Milan. This temple of beauty and personal care will be brought to life by sculptures, installations, sound works and other projects, for three days of exhibitions, performances and live happenings centered on the theme of the body, its depiction, its history, and the stereotypes in which it is frequently cloaked. Sarah Lucas will create a site-specific work designed for the Albergo Diurno Venezia, which will also feature sound installations and performances: on Saturday, April 9, an evening with music by artist and musician Julian Simmons, and on the evening of Sunday, April 10, a screening of the English artist’s home movies.
All the more bitingly irreverent for their disarming simplicity, the works of Sarah Lucas photographs, collages, sculptures and drawings create a theater of ambiguity where seemingly commonplace materials become objects of affection that reveal suppressed urges and desires.
From the beginning of her career, when she emerged among the Young British Artists of the 1990s London scene, Lucas has mocked taboos and sexist attitudes through coarsely aggressive sculptures. Her self-portraits, in which her own image becomes a character that moves through dozens of photographs, poses and situations, act out male and female myths and clichès, transforming gender roles.
Like a modern-day Rose “Marcel Duchamp’s female alter ego”, Sarah Lucas splits herself into a gallery of characters that flaunt a provocative, ambiguous sexuality. In a similar way, her sculptures, assembled from ordinary objects and found materials, or cast in gleaming bronze, resemble the magical objects of the Surrealists, from whom the artist has inherited a knack for turning everyday life on its head. Lucas’ variation on the feverish beauty of Surrealism is lighter, more pop, more tongue-in-cheek, yet more mysterious and visceral, charged with a blunt new energy.
Lucas work also has very strong ties to the feminist art of the ’60s, especially evident in her critique of the male gaze. Like her feminist forerunners, Lucas explicitly derisive works encourage women to take back the tools and images used to depict their bodies.
Lucas entire oeuvre is a reflection on the body, its depiction and its desires. Caring for one’s body, experiencing anatomy as beauty and as trauma, are recurrent themes in this British artist’s vision: the Albergo Diurno Venezia “an underground world, so fascinating yet so disquieting” is therefore the perfect setting for one of her site-specific projects, in a game of mirrors that links her artworks to the architecture and history of one of the most evocative landmarks in the everyday life of twentieth-century Milan.