About this artwork

Sarah Lucas’s portrayals of men and women have a strong sense of humour and they challenge sexual stereotypes and conventional morals. Lucas sits on the floor in this selfportrait with a skull placed between her feet. On the one hand the skull can be read as a traditional memento mori (reminder of death), although Lucas also saw the skull as a metaphor for the female sex organs. The work reflects Lucas’ interest in Sigmund Freud’s essay Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920), in which he proposed that the opposite drives for life and death are equal and intimately bound together. Lucas’s smiling, nonchalant expression suggests the theme of death is of little consequence to her at this early stage in her life.

Updated 2021

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Sarah Lucas

Sarah Lucas