Sarah’s Toilet


If Sarah Lucas knows she’s been labeled with the mark of “post-feminism”, what she has to say about it? I always wondered what artists say or think when they read or hear the blown-up rubbish the art historians are able to put into print.

Sarah Lucas is a very interesting artist of the Young British Artist movement. And even if recently her work circles around odd ideas of phallus-like forms, there is one piece I am greatly amused by. ‘Nature Abhors A Vacuum’, a toilet covered in cigarettes is a fabulous-witty-tragic mockery of life and I think one of those rare pieces of art which speaks to audience with ease and wit.


Sarah Lucas, Nature Abhors A Vacuum, 1998.

What does Sarah has to say about it? In interview with James Putnam she observes: “I first started smoking when I was nine. And I first started trying to make something out of cigarettes because I like to use relevant kind of materials. I’ve got these cigarettes around so why not use them. There is this obsessive activity of me sticking all these cigarettes on the sculptures, and obsessive activity could be viewed as a form of masturbation. It is a form of sex, it does come from the same sort of drive, and there’s so much satisfaction in it. When you make something completely covered in cigarettes and see it as solid it looks incredibly busy and it’s a bit like sperm or genes under the microscope.” – (Putnam, J. 2000. Interview with Sarah Lucas. London: Sadie Coles HQ.)

What do I think?
Her fabulous toilet actually speaks in two ways. Not just that: it speaks to two absolutely opposite audiences: smokers and smoker-haters. To the first it says: “I give a shit if I smoke.”, to the others it says: “Cigarettes are shit, they (or the smokers) belong where the shit belongs.”
Simply brilliant!

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