I thought a bit about whether I’m a feminist, as it’s something that often comes up. It will certainly be a feminine exhibition and, I think, a strong one.
Sarah Lucas, 2015
Sadie Coles HQ has just announced the publication of I SCREAM DADDIO, an artist’s book by Sarah Lucas and Julian Simmons. Produced by the British Council to coincide with Lucas’s acclaimed exhibition at this year’s Venice Biennale, this unique project charts the conception and production of her new works in London and Suffolk in the months before the Biennale. It combines an extensive text by the artist with photographs and commentary by her partner Simmons.
The book’s cover presents Lucas’s foot being wrapped in plaster bandages, its bare plaster-spattered sole functioning as a map of Venice. Developing the theme of plastering, the opening chapters trace the development of the ten ‘Muses’ on display in Venice, fragmentary casts of various of Lucas’s female friends (and of herself) in different poses, with photographs offering a vivid account of the casting process.
Across twenty-one miniature chapters or themes, Lucas muses on her working processes, her daily existence in Suffolk, and the friendships and relationships that have defined her life. Contemplative, comic and forthright, she meanders through the subjects of her artistic influences, creative processes and daily activities. The book collapses together the genres of diary, memoir, exhibition catalogue and cookbook – as Simmons has commented: “it is a catalogue of life, not just works”.
Throughout the chain of intersecting anecdotes and observations, the motif of the egg recurs as both a staple of daily existence and the stuff of art: a food, a colour and – in some situations – a missile. From gathering eggs in Suffolk to more clandestine rituals such as the performance of an ‘egg dance’ with friends or giving a nude ‘egg massage’ at the end of dinner, the egg encapsulates the shifting mood of the book and the body of work that it chronicles. A chapter titled ‘FLOATING ISLANDS’ evokes the combined elements of memory, domesticity and geography at the heart of Lucas’s new work. Her friend, Fergus Henderson, whisks eggs to make an île flottante in a bowl of yellow crème anglaise. In the spinning yellow and white of the dessert we glimpse the colours of Lucas’s exhibition on the floating island that is Venice, where ‘Muses’ are meringues in front of custard walls. Chromatically, the pages of the book themselves comprise an ‘egg sandwich’: printed on yolk-yellow pages at the centre is a sequence of poems by D.H. Lawrence, from his collection Birds, Beasts and Flowers (1923), written during his travels in Europe – mostly Italy – in the early 1920s. Celebrating nature and reaching into ancient pagan histories, the poems form a poetic analogue to Lucas’s explorations of the rural landscape, arcane ritual and sexuality. The last third of the volume is devoted to I SCREAM DADDIO, Lucas’s presentation in Venice, and combines installation views of the British Pavilion with numerous details of the sculptures.
Singular in its design and vision, I SCREAM DADDIO is the first publication to feature Lucas’s own writing so extensively, and offers an intimate and candid portrait of the artist at a defining moment in her career.
Price: £25 GBP (excluding shipping and VAT) Sarah Lucas: I SCREAM DADDIO
Concept, Design & Layout: Julian Simmons Text, 21 chapters: Sarah Lucas
9 poems: D.H. Lawrence Photographs: Julian Simmons Publisher: The British Council
Printer: The Five Castles Press, Ipswich, UK Softback OTA bound I 152 pages I 162 photographs, 80 full-colour I 23,000 words I 28 x 21.2 x 1.6 cm I ISBN 978-0-86355-770-5
For further information contact www.sadiecoles.com