Milan - News

Sarah Lucas at the Albergo Diurno in Milan

4 years ago

For miart 2016, the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi and miart are presenting Sarah Lucas – INNAMEMORABILIAMUMBUM, a special project by renowned British artist Sarah Lucas, curated by Massimiliano Gioni and Vincenzo de Bellis, conceived for the extraordinary setting of the AlbergoDiurno Venezia baths and produced in collaboration with FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano and the City of Milan.

On Friday, April 8, Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10, during the twenty-first edition of Milan’s modern and contemporary art fair, the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi and miart, in partnership with FAI and the City of Milan, have invited the artist Sarah Lucas to create a project specifically conceived for the magnificent spaces of the underground baths designed in the early 1920s by architect Piero Portaluppi, which have been closed to the public since 2006 and were recently reopened for a few days through the initiative of FAI and FAI Delegation in Milan. This temple of beauty and personal care will be brought to life by sculptures, installations, sound works and other projects, for three days of exhibitions, performances and live happenings centered on the theme of the body, its depiction, its history, and the stereotypes in which it is frequently cloaked.Sarah Lucas will create a site-specific work designed for the Albergo Diurno Venezia, which will also feature sound installations and performances on Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10.

All the more bitingly irreverent for their disarming simplicity, the works of Sarah Lucas—photographs, collages, sculptures and drawings—create a theater of ambiguity where seemingly commonplace materials become objects of affection that reveal suppressed urges and desires.
From the beginning of her career, when she emerged among the Young British Artists of the 1990s London scene, Lucas has mocked taboos and sexist attitudes through coarsely aggressive sculptures. Her self-portraits, in which her own image becomes a character that moves through dozens of photographs, poses and situations, act out male and female myths and clichés, transforming gender roles.
“I like to play around with gender stereotypes […] all these meanings are constructs, and they’re quite fragile” the artist says. In Sarah Lucas’s world, no subject seems too delicate and no taboo too sacred.

Like a modern-day Rose Sélavy—Marcel Duchamp’s female alter ego—Sarah Lucas splits herself into a gallery of characters that flaunt a provocative, ambiguous sexuality. In a similar way, her sculptures, assembled from ordinary objects and found materials, or cast in gleaming bronze, resemble the magical objects of the Surrealists, from whom the artist has inherited a knack for turning everyday life on its head. Lucas’s variation on the feverish beauty of Surrealism is lighter, more pop, more tongue-in-cheek, yet more mysterious and visceral, charged with a blunt new energy.

Lucas’s work also has very strong ties to the feminist art of the ’60s, especially evident in her critique of the male gaze. Like her feminist forerunners, Lucas’s explicitly derisive works encourage women to take back the tools and images used to depict their bodies.

Lucas’s entire oeuvre is a reflection on the body, its depiction and its desires. Caring for one’s body, experiencing anatomy as beauty and as trauma, are recurrent themes in this British artist’s vision: the Albergo Diurno Venezia—an underground world, so fascinating yet so disquieting—is therefore the perfect setting for one of her site-specific projects, in a game of mirrors that links her artworks to the architecture and history of one of the most evocative landmarks in the everyday life of twentieth-century Milan.

In collaboration with miart, and through a crucial partnership with FAI and the City of Milan, the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi continues along this path with Sarah Lucas – INNAMEMORABILIAMUMBUM, working to promote and support the most original expressions of contemporary art and culture. This year, it will be bringing the groundbreaking languages of our time into the Albergo Diurno Venezia, whose design is attributed to Piero Portaluppi. Built by the City of Milan between 1923 and 1925, the facility officially opened on January 18, 1926; in addition to public baths and grooming services (barber, hairdresser, manicurist, pedicurist), the Albergo Diurno also offered a post office, bureau de change, telephones, baggage check, travel agency, bank, typing bureau, laundry and ironing, and shops for buying clothes or renting personal objects. It also had a cutting-edge audio system that played radio throughout the salon. After a series of renovations, with the originally envisioned services gradually shutting down, the Albergo Diurno Venezia definitively closed to the public in 2006. After interest in the space was expressed on various sides, in May 2015 FAI signed an agreement with the City of Milan to develop and fund a restoration project, in view of reopening the facility to the public.
For the first time in its ninety-year history, the Albergo Diurno will be housing a site-specific contemporary art project.

My Art Guides Editorial Team

  • Sarah Lucas at Albergo Diurno. Courtesy of My Art Guides. Sarah Lucas at Albergo Diurno. Courtesy of My Art Guides.
  • Sarah Lucas at Albergo Diurno. Courtesy of My Art Guides. Sarah Lucas at Albergo Diurno. Courtesy of My Art Guides.

Related People

Massimiliano Gioni

Massimiliano Gioni

Curator, Director

Vincenzo de Bellis, photo by Marco De Scalzi

Vincenzo de Bellis


Sarah Lucas

Sarah Lucas