© Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London
Installation view: Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary. Collection as Aleph, Kunsthaus Graz, 2008 © Niki Lackner / Landesmuseum Joanneum
© Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London

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Sarah Lucas

Bunny Gets Snookered #3, 1997

Tan tights, green stockings, red office chair, clamp, kapok and wire
120 x 58 x 60 cm

Originally a component part of an installation and exhibition titled "Bunny Gets Snookered," Bunny Gets Snookered #3 is one of eight similar mannequins arranged on and around a snooker table at Sadie Coles HQ, London, in 1997. Sarah Lucas stuffed variously colored pairs of tights with cotton wadding to make 'bunny girl' forms, whose limply dangling arms and passively lolling legs provide a representation of abject femininity, in thrall to the arena of male virtuosity as suggested by the snooker table. Each 'bunny' wears differently colored stockings corresponding to the colors in a set of snooker balls. Any suggestion of power this might carry is subverted by the passivity of the floppy, stuffed body, which is clipped to an office chair, providing an emblem of secretarial submissiveness. The title of the installation reinforces the reading of disempowerment: to be snookered, in the language of the game of snooker, means to be prevented from scoring. This bunny girl is trapped by her femininity, only to be knocked against her fellow bunnies in a game of masculine skill.
Lucas specializes in challenging gender stereotypes through a play on conventions of representation and framing, specifically through the language and media of popular culture. The title of this piece suggests a lewd violation, a masculine victory in a sexual war. But the bunny's unhelpful slump, her sagging form and literal empty head (she has comic-strip stuffed 'ears' but the part of the tights which would logically be her head hangs empty) provide a comic antithesis to her traditional namesake and turn the desiring stereotype of masculinity back on itself. If femininity has been objectified, here it is that process of objectification itself which is revealed to be both comic and ridiculous, a self-defeating reduction which turns its object into something ultimately undesirable.

*1962 London, UK