Being Lady Lucy

This exhibition features Lady Lucy’s acclaimed body of work, produced 2005-6, based on an obscure publication that she found in some or other charity shop. The World Filmography 1968 is a fascinating comprehensive guide to the thousands of feature films released around the world during that year. Using its assorted entries, Lady Lucy has produced a cacophony of imaginative, witty and thoroughly engaging drawings. Individually and collectively, these drawings tell us much about the human condition of people throughout the world in this most turbulent and seismic of years. Not from the problematic point of view of ‘fact’, or of supposedly objective observation, but from the infinitely richer and more textured perspective of the story-maker. Looking at and engaging with this series of work, we get an uncommon and truly wonderful sense of the human experience and the human potential, to oscillating degrees. Mystery, intrigue, suspense, comedy, pathos, almost as many varieties of relationships as we can comprehend, [and] the triumph over adversity. Within Book of Books, all human life is well and truly here. And in considering the artist’s rendering of all human life, this work prompts us to re-examine and reconsider our own personal stories and histories, in the context of an endless assortment of other people’s stories, both real and imagined, released to the world in 1968. 1968! The year in which student and worker revolts almost toppled the French government of Charles de Gaulle, US troops massacred civilians in Vietnamese My Lai, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Robert Kennedy too was assassinated, and of course Jacqui Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis. 1968. The year of Hey Jude, Mrs. Robinson, All Along the Watchtower, Born to Be Wild, Hello I Love You, and Sittin’ on The Dock of the Bay. A definitive year. An intriguing year, made all the more so by Lady Lucy’s extraordinary document.


Lady Lucy’s drawings, together with the text that sometimes accompanies them, tell of a thousand and one conversations held, poignant or significant snippets of which have been committed to the pages of the artist’s sketchbooks, or on larger (or indeed, smaller) pieces of paper. At a time when process is often disparaged or set aside in favour of other ways of working, Lady Lucy’s practice represents a fresh and bold body of work that is, nevertheless (and perhaps surprisingly) very contemporary in its explorations of history, identity and culture. Drawing is, it seems, essential to her very life, existence and creativity. As she herself declares, “Drawing has become an essential ritual in my existence.” It’s rare indeed for an artist to openly declare such vulnerability and that it is this need to draw that lies behind the creating of such extraordinary bodies of work. We have much to thank Her Ladyship for.


The full version of the above text 'The Importance of Being Lady Lucy', written by Eddie Chambers was published in the brochure to accompany the exhibition Being Lady Lucy: Drawings and Sketchbooks 2004-6, by artist Lady Lucy. The exhibition was at Unit 2 Gallery, London, January 20 - March 10, 2007.