Contemporary Fine Arts is pleased to present Sarah Lucas & Julian Simmons: I’ve Got the Balls, a screening and livestream interview at the Delphi Lux Theatre on Wednesday, January 16 at 8pm.  

On the occasion of the final week of Sarah Lucas’ New Museum retrospective Au Naturel, which will travel to Los 
Angeles’ Hammer Museum this summer, CFA will screen two of Lucas’ performances as documented by filmmaker and Lucas’ partner Julian Simmons. Between screenings of I’ve Got the Balls (30 mins, Kurimanzutto, Mexico City, 2018) and Taped Up (43 mins, Venice Biennale, 2017), Lucas and Simmons will be present via livestream from their Suffolk kitchen.

Curators Massimiliano Gioni and Margot Norton sum up the stretch of Lucas’ significance in the introduction to their New Museum exhibition: “Over the past thirty years, Lucas has created a distinctive and provocative body of work that subverts traditional notions of gender, sexuality, and identity. Since the late 1980s, Lucas has transformed found 
objects and everyday materials such as cigarettes, vegetables, and stockings into absurd and confrontational tableaux that boldly challenge social norms. The human body and anthropomorphic forms recur throughout Lucas’ works, 
often appearing erotic, humorous, fragmented, or reconfigured into fantastical anatomies of desire. Initially associated with a group known as the Young British Artists (YBAs), who began exhibiting together in London in the late 1980s, Lucas is now one of the UK’s most influential artists.”

Much of Sarah Lucas’ work, and her collaboration with Julian Simmons, begins in the kitchen. A place for gathering and the domain of the eggs that are crucial to her practice, it becomes a natural setting for developing ideas. Lucas’ 
Penetralia series, based on casting erect penises, began in the kitchen. Simmons recalls: “One winter when the heating oil ran out and the oil truck couldn’t get down the iced-up track, we fired up a neglected Rayburn stove in the kitchen, shut the doors, got really hot, stripped off, I slapped my nob on the table, and Sarah started making a mould with plaster bandage.” Who knows what might happen as Lucas and Simmons open up their kitchen to the Delphi Lux audience.

I’ve Got the Balls captures the Women’s Egg Throwing Event Lucas enacted at Kurimanzutto, Mexico City in 2018. Lucas has used eggs in her work since her 1996 Self Portrait with Fried Eggs, where she engaged questions of femininity and fertility, playing with a fried egg boobs motif. Sarah first brought female friends and collaborators together to lob 1000 eggs at gallery walls at CFA over Easter 2017 and most recently at the New Museum opening. Drawing upon the Pagan fertility rite of egg throwing in spring, which later evolved into Christian Easter, Lucas’ egg throws are performances of self-actualization and solidarity. They are also a great time. Simmons’ film captures the egg throw in its meticulous preparation and joyful execution, revelling in the slow drip of yolky yellows.   

In Taped Up, Lucas is duct taped to a chair as she discusses her then-upcoming 2015 Venice Biennale Pavilion with art critic Louisa Buck. With one hand mobile to facilitate smoking and drinking, Lucas’ inhibited posture personifies a play with power that is integral to her practice. In her catalogue essay No Excuses, for the Au Naturel retrospective, Maggie Nelson writes: “One thing is for certain: Lucas’ work enacts and shares in power. “Power. The word keeps coming up,” Olivia Laing wrote in a 2015 profile. “Lucas is aware that she possesses it herself, both as an artist and a person.” Not that feminism didn’t or doesn’t have to do with power. But it’s easy to slip into presuming that power is only out there, something to be wielded against you, something on the horizon to struggle dourly toward. How to be alive – and even more alive – to the power we already have? How to make good pervy use of it how to not let it turn against you, how to stay on its pulse?” Lucas and Simmons have certainly begun to sketch an answer.