Champagne Maradona, 2015

Basel 2019
Sadie Coles HQ
Bronze; 445 x 200 x 340 cm; edition 3 of 3 + 1 AP
Champagne Maradona is a 15-foot-high sculpture cast from bronze and finished in champagne yellow. It depicts a figure in joyous repose, transforming one of Sarah Lucas’s stuffed nylon sculptures into an object of majestic proportions. Maradona was first presented in Lucas’s exhibition for the 2015 Venice Biennale, where two versions in different shades of yellow (‘Gold Cup’ and ‘Deep Cream’) stood at the entrance to the British Pavilion. Champagne Maradona adds a new shade of yellow to those of the Venice pair. Named after the legendary Argentine footballer, the figure reclines on the ground while an enormous phallus soars into the air – part man, part maypole, part praying mantis. The work began as a handmade model in Lucas’s customary materials – tights, wire, and kapok – before being transformed into a cast. It channels the themes of eroticism, abjection, and attitudinizing that have recurred throughout her art. The precursors to Maradona include her ‘Bunny’ sculptures (1997 onwards), pairs of stuffed tights clamped unceremoniously to chairs to evoke splayed legs, and the later ‘NUDs,’ begun in 2009, in which these same materials were used to create abstract ‘knots’ or contortions.