The Past is Present: Sarah Lucas and the Artemis of Ephesus

Sarah Lucas, from exhibition SITUATION Absolute Beach Man Rubble at Whitechapel Gallery, 2013. Source.

I came across the above work by Sarah Lucas while putting together the final class of my Art of Britain course, and was immediately struck by its resemblance to the Artemis of Ephesus, an archaic form of the Greek goddess that emphasizes her role as a fertility deity.

Ephesian Artemis, Archeological Museum, Ephesus, Turkey. Source.

The obvious connection is the multiplicity of breasts, in Lucas's case, made from stuffed pantyhose, that ridiculous form of female attire with what must be a record-breaking built-in obsolescence factor.

But there's another affinity that is equally intriguing. The boots below Lucas's boobs are made of concrete, contradicting their function as aids to mobility. Artemis too is denied the prospect of movement, her legs literally and symbolically encased in stone. Plus ça change?