Art review: Sarah Lucas (Tramway)

Sarah Lucas exhibition
Sarah Lucas exhibition

Sarah Lucas’s first major Scottish exhibition is certain to polarise opinion - but nobody could ever accuse it of being boring.

An enormous mechanical arm and a lorry share gallery space with the remains of wrecked cars and a garden shed in an overall display which is capable of eliciting nervous giggles alongside a creeping dread.

It’s beautifully curated, taking up a single hall at the atmospheric Tramway, but deliberately split into two by a large screen.

Both halves are introduced by way of a self portrait of the artist, the first made of cigarettes and the second a repeated photographic print pastiche of Andy Warhol.

The mirrored spaces each comprise a monumental diorama of artworks, each of which is displayed in the shadow of a large photographic tableau.

The first contains a bawdy deconstruction of manhood; huge images of naked male with modesty protected by a range of pun-inspired objects, rub alongside a smoking hut and lorry plastered with tabloid titillation. Meanwhile the aforementioned arm pumps onanistically centre stage.

The second half replaces flesh with steel and concrete, with only the phallic imagery retained. Pictures of cold, empty car parks bear down on a car crash caught in time, coloured glass from smashed indicators strewn around the floor, while other crushed car wreckage is juxtaposed with a bright neon coffin.

It’s a darkly thrilling display which demonstrates true artistic talent amidst the occasionally end-of-the-pier sensibility.