The repeating self: Sarah Lucas' Self-Portraits (an experiment in art writing)

Eliza Garnsey
2017 Journal of Arts Writing by Students  
In Self-Portraits, Sarah Lucas employs Barthes' notion of the punctum like an overused punch line: forcing an intentional moment when the puzzle pieces come together and trigger a 'prick'. To bring together the object of analysis -Lucas' selfportraits -and the text of analysis, I employ in writing the same intentional punctum (a rupturing of the prose through the written repetition of themes, arguments and questions) that Lucas employs through photography. This adaption in writing of Lucas'
more » ... iting of Lucas' strategy of representation reveals further, and different knowledge, than other forms of art writing might in unpacking the central question, what does repetition in Lucas' self-portraits reveal about identity and gender? Repetition is fundamental to the ways in which Lucas both displays and disarms her 'self' through the photographic portraits. Lucas' repetitive visual vernacular leaves her identity paradoxically unstable -simultaneously constituted but punctured by that which it seeks to tear down -while the deliberate and repeated use of psychoanalytic citations and gender performance leaves Lucas inhabiting a state of inbetweeness.
doi:10.1386/jaws.3.1-2.91_1 fatcat:wlz4etfkgrabxcgvdyqhw6adsy