Talks Series: Sarah Lucas @ Henry Moore Institute

Sarah Lucas, NUD 2, 2009. Photo c. the artist and Sadie Coles HQ London.

12 September – 3 October 2012

During its exhibition Sarah Lucas: Ordinary Things, the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds will be running an exciting programme of lectures that address the sculptural concerns of Lucas’ artistic practice – encompassing topics as varied as multiculturalism, humour, Lucas’ relationship to Modernism, and Freud. Many exhibitions and discussions of Lucas’ work have focused on her as a central player within British art in the 1990s, whereas this programme of academic talks and the exhibition Ordinary Things aim to offer a counter position of the sculptural rather than the sensational. Accompanying the exhibition, the HMI have also produced a fantastic catalogue, with essays by Lisa Le Feuvre, Gilda Williams, Anne M. Wagner and Deborah Orr.

12 September 6pm: Dr Amna Malik – ‘Between multiculturalism and a new internationalism? Sarah Lucas in the mid-1990s’

Amna Malik’s talk asks how Sarah Lucas’ work of the mid-1990s might appear if we were to ignore the so-called ‘yBa’ phenomenon of that period? She offers a counter position, looking to locate this period of the artist’s work in the context of art beyond Britain and in relation to artists who, like Lucas, rejected monumentality. Malik is Lecturer in Art History and Theory at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. She has published a number of articles examining contemporary art practice from the perspective of diaspora and in 2009 was the author of Au Naturel focusing on Lucas’ eponymous 1994 sculpture, on show in Ordinary Things in Gallery 1, published in the one-work series by Afterall.

 19 September 6pm: Dr Alison Rowley – ‘Fertile Objects: ‘Penetralia’, Sarah Lucas and English Modernism’

In 1999 when Sarah Lucas was invited to speak at the University of Leeds in a series of public lectures titled Objects of Sculpture: Contemporary Views of Women and Sculpture she opened her presentation with a demonstration of her belief in ‘truth to materials’ and referred to Englishness as her muse. This talk explores the idea of British Modernism and English sculpture in the 1930s being the guiding spirit of Lucas’ Penetralia series, on show in Ordinary Things in Gallery 3, asking what might this tell us about Lucas’s position as a sculptor in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Dr Alison Rowley is Reader in Cultural Theory at Huddersfield University. She is currently working on the single authored book titled: Common gestures, class acts: studies in ‘young British art’, an analysis of the return in the 1990s of neglected histories of British social and political life since 1945, in key works by artists grouped under the heading ‘yBa’.

26 September 6pm: Dr Beatrix Ruf – ‘Tits and bunnies, words and flips, cigarettes, god and all the rest of all’

Beatrix Ruf addresses in this lecture the objects of Lucas’ sculpture, drawing out their references, humour and broader sculptural concerns. Ruf was appointed Director/Curator of the Kunsthalle Zürich in 2001, where in 2005 she worked with Sarah Lucas, alongside Yilmaz Dziewior, to develop a retrospective exhibition and publication on Lucas’ work, published by Tate Publishing. She has organised exhibitions, written essays and published catalogues on artists including Jenny Holzer, Marina Abramovic, Liam Gillick, Urs Fischer, Keith Tyson, Rodney Graham, Isa Genzken, Rebecca Warren, Carol Bove (who is exhibiting at the Institute in 2014), and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster.

3 October 6pm: Dr Sue Malvern – ‘Sarah Lucas: Beyond the pleasure principle’

Dr Sue Malvern analyses Sarah Lucas’ installation Beyond the Pleasure Principle which was exhibited at the Freud Museum, London in 2000 alongside a concurrent exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ, to argue that Lucas’ work represents a sophisticated reading of Freud’s writings. Sue Malvern teaches at the University of Reading. Her research interests include art and war in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, questions of visual display in museums, feminism, sculpture especially public monuments and memorials, and contemporary art.


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