Sarah Lucas ('Self-Portrait with Fried Eggs')

© Sarah Lucas

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Sarah Lucas ('Self-Portrait with Fried Eggs')

by Sarah Lucas
Iris print, 1996
29 3/8 in. x 20 1/4 in. (746 mm x 515 mm) overall
Given by Sadie Coles HQ, 2001
Primary Collection
NPG P884(5)

On display in Room 29 on Floor 1 at the National Portrait Gallery

Sitterback to top

  • Sarah Lucas (1962-), Artist. Sitter in 15 portraits, Artist or producer of 12 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Sarah Lucas (1962-), Artist. Artist or producer of 12 portraits, Sitter in 15 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Lucas's provocative self-portraits question traditional depictions of women and challenge the clichéd image of the modern artist at work. In this work, Lucas appears in her characteristic macho pose and androgynous dress, creating an image of defiant femininity.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Howgate, Sarah; Nairne, Sandy, A Guide to Contemporary Portraits, 2009, p. 21 Read entry

    Many of Sarah Lucas’s works, which use photography, collage and found objects, are visual puns that examine gender in a tabloid-orientated society. Her provocative self-portrait questions traditional depictions of women and challenges the clichéd image of the modern artist at work. This is the fifth in a series of twelve Iris print self-portraits in which the artist appears in her characteristic macho pose and androgynous dress, creating an image of defiant femininity.

  • Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 252 Read entry

    Using a pair of fried eggs to suggest breasts, this self-portrait by Sarah Lucas exemplifies the strategy of provocation and ‘attitude’ that defines her work in general. One of the original Young British Artists, or ‘YBAs’, a stylistically disparate group of artists that attracted attention from the late 1980s, Lucas’s work has focused on issues related to sex, gender and her own identity. These themes are brought together in this portrait in which Lucas’s posture and demeanour, though clothed, are reminiscent of the portrayal of women in pornography. Using her own image as a vehicle for the exploration of these ideas is also overtly connected with the culture of self-obsession – an extension of the so-called ‘me generation’ first identified in the 1970s – that is said to dominate the younger age group in contemporary society. The creation of imagery involving narcissism, sexual allusion and the portrayal of women characterises other self-portraits by Lucas in which, for example, she depicts herself eating a banana or sitting on a toilet. The use of deliberate banality, shock tactics and throwaway materials are also part of a calculated affront to conventional aesthetic values in an age of relativism and shifting standards.

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1996back to top

Current affairs

The largest ever IRA bomb is detonated in Manchester causing the destruction of many buildings and over 200 injuries. Nobody died in the incident because a warning was given and the area evacuated. After the bombing much of Manchester was rebuild and in 1998 it won a successful bid to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana finalise their divorce after four years of separation.

Art and science

The Spice Girls enjoy massive popular success with their first single Wannabe going straight to Number 1. The group are remembered as much for their sassy, outspoken 'girl power' attitude and their continuing subsequent celebrity as for their music.
Danny Boyle tells the story of a group of Edinburgh heroin addicts in his critically acclaimed film version of Irvine Welsh's novel Trainspotting.


The First Chechnya War breaks out between Chechnya and Russia when Russian forces invade the country in support of Chechnyan opposition to the government. The invasion went badly with strong Chechnyan resistance and dissent in the Russian command. However, a truce was finally established after Russia seized the capital Grozny. More than 46,000 people died as a result of the conflict.

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