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Selected Artists 2003
March 2004

Lucy Skaer Wants Your Body

Lucy Skaer has a morbid fascination with cadavers. But unlike serial killer Ed Gein hers is a purely artistic preoccupation. "I am interested in the idea that the corpse or cadaver is a naturally occurring image – it is the perfect likeness of a living person and yet it has become fundamentally different". Using a miasma of materials, from graphite pencil to gold leaf and Rorschach inkblots she attempts to subvert the comfortable distance between the artist, the work and the viewer. Recent public art pieces include secreting a pupating moth and butterfly in The Old Bailey during a criminal trial and placing a diamond and a scorpion together on an Amsterdam pavement. In changing the context of familiar objects, she creates new meaning – true in her drawings as well as her public installations. "Matter doesn't behave in a logical way in the drawings. In one, red paint is at one point a blood flow which then forms the pattern on a Ming vase and then a series of neat blocks."

Despite a Beck's Futures nomination and successful group work (as part of a collective called Henry VIII's wives) she will soon – literally – be struggling to give her work away. Lucy has just been commissioned to produce an unlimited poster for Channel 4's Art4 project. "People can just take it away. It's going to be a drawn image taken from the archive of Channel 4 footage." Judging from her past work, it seems too good a bargain to refuse.

Ravi Somaiya

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