Sarah Lucas: Sense of Human

Sarah Lucas: Sense of Human

Kunsthalle Mannheim

Sarah Lucas, Self-Portrait with Fried Eggs, 1996. Photo: Angus Fairhurst. © Sarah Lucas. Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London.

May 31, 2024
Sarah Lucas
Sense of Human
June 7–October 20, 2024
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Opening: June 6, 7pm
Curator’s guided tour: June 19, 6:30pm
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Kunsthalle Mannheim
Friedrichsplatz 4
68165 Mannheim

T +49 621 2936423

In her work, Sarah Lucas (born in London, 1962) engages in a critical, humorous way with aspects of the human body and its social ascriptions. In her photographs, sculpture, and installations, she questions social norms and gender stereotypes using a radical and yet elegant formal language. Things from everyday life, such as furniture, fluorescent tubes, and food, are often used in her work, arranged playfully in a new context of meaning.

Questions of human existence
The human body is always central to her works. With anthropomorphic shapes, fragmentary bodily impressions, symbolically charged women’s tights, or half-smoked cigarettes, the artist presents fundamental questions about the “sense of human,” fugacity and death, sexuality and gender, rules and limits in the social structure. In so doing, Lucas subverts codes of gender, class, and social normativity. She both provokes and amuses with visual wordplay and explicit, psychologically charged arrangements.

Visual wordplay and self-portraits with fried eggs
In her first institutional exhibition in Germany since 2005, Lucas presents works from almost four decades of artistic creation, ranging from early works from the 1990s like the iconic Au Naturel, where household objects serve as placeholders for body parts, to enlarged pages from tabloids that criticize the objectified representations of the female body. She also presents her photographic self-portraits that have accompanied her entire oeuvre since the early 1990s until the present as well as works produced recently for the exhibition, shown here for the first time.

Sarah Lucas is currently considered one of the world’s most influential British artists. Born in a working-class family in North London, she studied at Goldsmiths College and in the late 1980s came to be associated with the Young British Artists, including Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, and others. For several months in 1993, she ran the legendary The Shop in East London with Tracy Emin, selling T-shirts, pins, and cups they designed themselves. Since then, she has presented her work at institutions such as Cologne’s Museum Ludwig, London’s Freud Museum, the Secession in Vienna, Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and New York’s New Museum. In 2015, she was featured at the British Pavilion in the Venice Biennale. She most recently presented a large-scale retrospective at Tate Britain in London.

There will be an extensive auxiliary program to accompany the exhibition. Visitors can engage with the artist and her work at lectures, tours, and art conversations. Current dates are published on our website:

A catalogue will be published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Franz und Walther König, edited by Luisa Heese and Johan Holten, with essays by Johanna Adorján, Bruno Brunnet, Nicole Hackert, Luisa Heese, and Sarah Lucas. It is available for purchase at the museum shop.

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Kunsthalle Mannheim
May 31, 2024

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