Tracey Emin

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Tracey Emin

Post  eddie on Sun May 22, 2011 2:32 am

Tracey was here

No artist has confused their work and life to greater effect. But is there more to Tracey Emin than private trauma made public? By Jonathan Jones

The Guardian, Tuesday 5 August 2008


'An emotional earache' ... My Bed, 1998 (detail), by Tracey Emin. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

Why are you telling us all this stuff, I found myself thinking a few minutes into Tracey Emin's retrospective. Here are 20 years of self-revelation, self-dramatisation, self-this and self-that. Step into the first room and you're knee-deep in raw emotion: Emin's memories of growing up at the Hotel International in Margate; a tribute to her gran, who's with the angels now; a shrine to her Uncle Colin, who's also with the angels after a horrific car crash - and that's before you get on to her abortion, her mum, her tour of America, her abortion. Is there anything that has happened to Emin that she hasn't turned into a blanket, a neon, a drawing, a painting or a video? By the end of this show, I felt as if someone had been shouting at me down the phone for a couple of hours - a kind of emotional earache.

The French painter Nicolas Poussin complained of his contemporary Caravaggio, "This man has come to murder art!" He meant that Caravaggio's paintings refused to sublimate the undigested stuff of life, that they did not ennoble it. My own problem with Emin has been similar. A magician such as Damien Hirst or Joseph Beuys makes everything symbolic. Emin's readymades, on the other hand, remain flat, unredeemed; she transfigures nothing. But in many ways Emin's achievement is the same as Caravaggio's: she rubs our noses in reality, in a way that subverts all our illusions, fantasies, snobberies and repressions, those barriers we put up between us and death.

Walk into this exhibition, and what confronts you resembles a photo album of Emin's early life. There's a blanket with her name and her brother's on it, little shrines addressed to members of her family. There's her piece May Dodge, My Nan. Is it here to shed light on her work, or to tell us about her childhood? Then, in a darkened room, in a flurry of linen, bottles, tights, there is the celebrated spectacle of My Bed - the work that had crowds gawping and arguing when Emin was shortlisted for the Turner prize in 1999. I always thought that, in putting her own bed into an art gallery, Emin wasn't really doing anything new. I thought anyone who was shocked or excited by the raw readymade fact of it - it's just her bed! in a museum! - was being naive. They knew nothing about the history of modern art: Robert Rauschenberg put his own bed into a museum in 1955.

By lucky chance I saw Rauschenberg's Bed again in New York a few weeks ago. In fact, the comparison helped me understand Emin's originality. Rauschenberg's bed is splattered with paint and has Twombly-like pencil scrawls on it (possibly done by Twombly). It hangs on the wall. In other words, Rauschenberg makes it quite clear that a transformation has taken place. Emin's bed, by contrast, has no aesthetic additions - no drawings or smears of paint. It is just there, a messy fact, and a decade on, refuses to be anything else. It now looks like one of the truly great readymades.

My Bed also has the quality of a relic, a souvenir. This is a bit of her she's giving, a slice of her life. What was suffered here? In a nearby gallery, a small comfy chair, appliquéd with texts and entitled There's a Lot of Money in Chairs, is displayed inside a glass case. There's a photograph of Emin sitting in this chair in Monument Valley, on a 1994 tour of the US, reading from a manuscript entitled Exploration of the Soul. The chair was part of her performance, and it raises a question: is Emin essentially a performance artist, with her life the performance? You could compare Emin's chair with some of Joseph Beuys' works, which began as props for performances. But the answer, I think, is no. Emin's life is not a performance. Nor is she Andy Warhol, creating a mysterious mask for herself. There is no mystery to her. She is always telling everyone exactly what she thinks. Above all, her art imitates life in that so much of it is a mistake.

You could place Emin's throne-chair in a white room all by itself and invite whispered reverence. Instead, she chooses to show it in a cluttered gallery, one that also includes a wooden contraption whose steps you climb to see a video, and a neon text saying "You forgot to kiss my soul." You what? Is this meant to be poetry? Imagine a teenager saying it wanly: you forgot to kiss my soul. Ugh, what drivel. Right through this exhibition, I found myself failing to produce the emotions Emin expects. Looking at a little collection of children's shoes, I was embarrassed by their sentimentality. And does she really think a film of herself screaming naked in Norway is a profound homage to Munch's The Scream? Then again, perhaps it is.

I've rarely seen an exhibition that so constantly changed my mind about an artist. At times, Emin is so bad she's comic. And let's be honest: the newest works are the worst, which is worrying. Her recent paintings are lazy echoes of Willem de Kooning, with their blousy colours and "painterly" eroticism; there's a triteness and lack of energy to them. Her 2005 sculpture Self Portrait (Bath) is so glib in its imagery - a neon light tangled in barbed wire - it should be renamed Self Portrait (Bathos).

Is Emin a splattergun artist who just keeps hitting on powerful facts? Or is she far more talented than she pretends? It's this latter possibility that keeps people guessing. Emin's 1996 performance Exorcism of the Last Painting I Ever Made is a crucial moment in this show, if only because the title is so roundly contradicted by the abundance of drawings and paintings she has made since. Emin's cartoon drawings are as scratchily effective as her paintings are overblown. Her line is so authentic - or is it? Is she trying too hard to be emotional with that wobbly hand?

Would Emin's drawing and painting and embroidering matter, if she weren't who she is? I think not. Emin's real achievement lies in her readymades. Beyond that, it lies in the nagging, toothache rub of real life that pervades all her work, regardless of its quality. Her very inconsistency, her variety, helps somehow to push everything back towards blunt reality. This is someone living her life, even when she's living it wrong.

It's Not the Way I Want to Die is the title of a rickety wooden ruin of a seaside rollercoaster, the most poignant recent object here, redolent of decay and mortality. In the end, the most shocking thing about this exhibition isn't the abortions, or the rape, or the condoms - it's Emin's acknowledgment of the passage of time. We first knew her as a Young British Artist, and she is now the first of that generation to make the drab dawn of middle age a part of her work. Emin presents herself as an emotional artist, but her real strength is intellectual: she confuses art and life in a way that is profound, philosophical and has a core of greatness.


Art and designguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

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Re: Tracey Emin

Post  eddie on Sun May 22, 2011 2:41 am

Tracey Emin out to prove she's no conservative at London retrospective

Swearing at John Humphrys and mouthing Tory platitudes: all part of the publicity for Love is What You Want

Mark Brown, arts correspondent guardian.co.uk, Monday 16 May 2011 20.04 BST


Tracey Emin attends a photocall for her Love Is What You Want exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London. Photograph: Rune Hellestad/Corbis

After two decades scaring the horses with her drunkenness on TV and sexually explicit art Tracey Emin now risks becoming part of the establishment by dining with the Tories and opening on Wednesday a mid-career retrospective at one of Britain's most important galleries.

Tracey Emin Love is What You Want Hayward Gallery, London SE1 8XX Starts 18 May Until 29 August Details:
020 7960 4200 £12

Telling John Humphrys on BBC Radio 4's Today programme that she wanted her epitaph to be "fuck me while I'm sleeping" may mean she's not quite there yet.

Emin said afterwards she had been provoked by Humphrys's assertion that she was mellowing. "It was very funny. I like John Humphrys, he's a nice person. He gets people up in the mornings."

The 47-year-old artist was speaking at a preview of the most important show of her work to date, at the Hayward Gallery, London, being staged as part of the South Bank Centre's 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain.

It is not a show that could ever have been staged at the original festival. There is much that could shock: lots of the swearing, masturbation and intensely private confessional which Emin has become loved and disliked for, in perhaps equal measure.

The fact that she has the retrospective is a measure of her standing in the art world and, as she pointed out, all of her forthcoming shows are museum exhibitions: at Turner Contemporary in her home town of Margate; then the Brooklyn Museum in New York and MOCA in Miami.

Emin used to upset the right with her provocative art and unapologetic mouthiness. Now, with her conversion to the Conservatives, now she is in danger of upsetting the left. Yesterday Emin was unafraid of pouring oil on the fire by declaring that the Tories simply offered the best hope for the arts.

"There's no money, the country is bankrupt so the arts is going to be bottom of the list on everyone's agenda except that the Tories have an amazing arts minister in Ed Vaizey who is particularly protective and defensive of the arts.

"Also the arts cuts, they are less than they were eight years ago with the Labour government. In the present climate its amazing that there's any money for the arts at all.

"And remember, Tory people are massive collectors of the arts. For a lot of my friends, who think I'm crazy voting for the Tories – I want to know who buys their work? Who are the biggest philanthropists? I promise you, it's not Labour voters."

Emin was speaking ahead of what she said was the biggest moment of her art career so far and the retrospective is expected to be popular with younger audiences, particularly younger women. "They can see that I've been on a journey and they are on a journey themselves and they relate to that," she said.

There is though a recommendation that under-16s should be with an adult because of the frank content, with even Emin admitting she feels a little embarrassed and queasy about one of the pieces - some used tampons from about 12 years ago, displayed next to a pregnancy test. "The tampons were a major surprise. I was thinking I should have cast them."

Emin is clearly fiercely proud of the show and believes visitors will easily be able to spend three hours at it, viewing some of her key works as well as seldom-seen pieces. "I hope they come out think I'm a better artist than when they went in. I'm thrilled with the show."

Two seminal works missing are her unmade bed, which Charles Saatchi is going to show at a 2012 show he is planning, and her tent – Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995 – which was destroyed in the Momart fire of 2004. There are though 12 of her blankets with some of her deepest and darkest thoughts appliquéd to them – "I do not expect to be a mother but I do expect to die alone," for example – and 16 of her neon signs including one she has made for the show – and has been adopted as its title – "Love is What You Want".

Much of the art has been informed by the darker episodes in Emin's life, including abuse and rape and abortion, but she said she was now in a happy place and really enjoying her art. She stopped her partying for a bit but has resumed as she is now single and, frankly, life is too short.

Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward, said much of the public was familiar with only a small fraction of Emin's work and part of the show's intention was to show how diverse her art was. "Tracey deals with things that everyone can relate to and on the surface she is talking about things that everyone, somehow, knows from their own life."

The YBA pack

Tracey Emin was part of the Young British Artists or YBA movement which blasted its way into the public consciousness in the late 80s and 90s, aided by their rich and secretive patron Charles Saatchi.

Emin was in the second wave, after the likes of Damien Hirst (right), Gary Hume and Sarah Lucas, but soon became one of the best-known members, with her unmade bed and the (now destroyed) tent on which she named everyone she had slept with. Appearing drunk on a live Channel 4 discussion show probably helped rather than hindered her career.

Now Emin is rich and feted, employing 13 people and managing to squeeze a swimming pool into her Spitalfields house and studios.But she is not as rich and feted as Hirst: the Sunday Times places the leader of the YBA pack at 325th in its Rich List with an estimated 215m; and next year he will be given a major retrospective at Tate Modern for the Olympics.

One of the defining moments for what became the YBAs was the exhibition Freeze, organised by Hirst and held in London's Docklands in 1988. Most of the 16 Goldsmith students that took part have made their way impressively as professional artists. Lucas's fleshy stuffed nylon works were a stand-out at the recent British Art Show; Michael Landy made headlines last year by turning an entire gallery into a bin for art; and the others include Hume, Anya Gallaccio and Fiona Rae. Then there are prominent second-wave names such as Douglas Gordon, Fiona Banner, Tacita Dean (who will occupy the Tate's Turbine Hall this year), and the twins Jane and Louise Wilson. Angus Fairhurst, one of the original Freeze 16, took his life in 2008.

Saatchi is still one of the most important people in British art, with a gallery off the Kings Road. There are also men such as Jay Jopling, who represents so many of the YBAs as dealer, and Gregor Muir, a former YBA groupie who now wears a suit and runs the ICA.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

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Re: Tracey Emin

Post  eddie on Sun May 22, 2011 2:48 am




Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995 by Tracey Emin (1995). An interior view of the work.

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Re: Tracey Emin

Post  eddie on Sun May 22, 2011 2:51 am


Stuckists use a cut-out of Emin in 2001 to demonstrate against the Turner Prize.

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Re: Tracey Emin

Post  eddie on Sun May 22, 2011 2:56 am


Red Girl- TE, 2007.

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Re: Tracey Emin

Post  Doc Watson on Mon May 23, 2011 12:08 am

Our local Gallery recently held an exhibition of her work.

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Re: Tracey Emin

Post  Doc Watson on Mon May 23, 2011 12:12 am

Strawberry Jam wrote:Did you go see it?
yes it was about chess

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Re: Tracey Emin

Post  Doc Watson on Mon May 23, 2011 12:59 am

The piece is called Tracey Emuin's Travelling Chess Set
The work comprises bronze chess pieces resting on a board made from pierced together cloth squares some with p;rint inked images and Text. Sher uses the game og chess as a metaphor for the heated itimacies of courtship with the patchwork board resembling a minature blanket. A love message on the ribbon pouch for storing the chess pieces reinforces the message. Duchamp , Dali and other artists all produced chess sets so she is following an etablished tradition


Last edited by Doc Watson on Mon May 23, 2011 10:57 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : computer crashed and a confused post was sent out)

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Tracey Emin Love Is What You Want news and reviews

Post  Lyndsay26 on Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:22 am

Hey guys, we (Artswrap) have news and reviews on Tracey Emin's latest retrospective Love Is What You Want at the Hayward Gallery which I hope you enjoy http://artswrap.co.uk/event/tracey-emin-love-what-you-want-hayward-gallery-london-2011 But what I would enjoy is some honest opinions from YOU. I know there are some strong opinions/personalities in this forum and I have been looking for people like you whose opinions I would love to hear. As a new website for the Arts world, we are really looking to engage with our audience so please feel free to leave a review, comment or even just a rating would be appreciated. You can even begin a discussion on Tracey Emin or any other Arts related topics should the mood strike you! Also any feedback on the website would be greatly appreciated, thanks and I hope you enjoy/have enjoyed the exhibition!

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Re: Tracey Emin

Post  eddie on Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:31 pm

Queen meets Tracey Emin in Margate

Two pillars of the establishment come face to face when monarch visits Turner Contemporary gallery in artist's home town

Mark Brown, arts correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Friday 11 November 2011 16.11 GMT


The Queen talks to Tracey Emin in front of JMW Turner's Crossing the Brook. The artist said the Queen had been 'relaxed and funny'. Photograph: WPA/Getty Images

Tracey Emin was soberly dressed, head to toe in dark grey Vivienne Westwood. The Queen had also made an effort. She wore a pink and white basket weave dress and coat by Stewart Parvin. And together they met on a cold, grey Friday in Margate – two pillars of the establishment albeit of a very different kind.

The occasion was a visit by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to the Turner Contemporary, the David Chipperfield-designed gallery which opened in April. A royal seal of approval, perhaps, for the glut of galleries which have opened over the past decade from Gateshead (where she has also been) to Wakefield and Nottingham to Colchester.

Emin – Margate-born and bred, bad girl turned near national treasure – was introduced to the royal couple in front of JMW Turner's 1815 masterpiece, Crossing the Brook, part of an eclectic show celebrating youth culture.

It is not clear if the Queen – who has quite a large collection herself, of course – was entirely aware of Emin's work, apparently asking if she exhibited internationally as well as Margate.

But they seemed to get on extremely well. Afterwards Emin said the Queen had been very relaxed and funny. "She knew that I'd grown up here and I told her about my misspent youth and I said I was trying to make up for it now," she said.

They also talked about a show Emin is taking part in next year, in which there will also be works by Turner and Rodin.

"They were both quite enthusiastic and surprised that I was having an exhibition in the whole space and I explained I was sharing it with Turner. I didn't say it was the erotic works of Turner.

"It was brilliant, very nice. She had a big, beaming smile so I immediately felt really relaxed."

Prince Philip also passed on some advice to the Tate, suggesting the gallery should put some other artists in the Clore galleries other than Turner.

The couple seemed to enjoy their scoot around the show, with the Queen asking what one work by the New York collective Bernadette Corporation was. In truth, it's hard to tell – a banner wrapped around a small scaffold. It is in fact a damning critique of the sexualisation of young women in advertising.

After viewing the exhibition it was downstairs for a lunch of locally caught halibut and local beer.

This was a big day for Turner Contemporary, which is playing its part in helping Margate to claw its way up from the doldrums.

Since it opened in April, more than 300,000 people have visited – a remarkable figure since the gallery had been expecting just over 156,000 for the entire year.

Victoria Pomery, the gallery's director, said: "It has been hugely successful, beyond my wildest expectations.

"It has been amazing and goes to show that in a time of economic downturn and recession, the arts are more important than ever, they really are. There's a real demand and appetite for what the arts can bring to any of us."

Margate itself is a town on the up, with 35 businesses opening in the old town in the past year, including a cupcake shop, also visited by the royal couple.

"There is still lots of change to happen, we'd all agree on that," said Pomery. "There's a real impact being felt as a result of Turner Contemporary. But the building will only work with fantastic art and people in it."

Emin recalled growing up in a town that felt "incredibly glamorous" – packed with tourists, beauty competitions, variety acts. "It felt like it was sunny all the time."

And then there was the downturn.

"I still think there should be an inquiry into what happened to Margate. How did it happen? Who was responsible? It's good that things are getting better but how did this happen to Margate?

"The thing is, wherever art goes, commerce follows. I just didn't expect the Queen to follow it."

Emin, who said her 17-year-old self did not think she would be alive at this age let alone meeting the Queen, was accompanied by her mum Pam.

"I'm very proud of her," said Emin senior. "It's such an honour that she's meeting the Queen."

"I came to Margate over 40 years ago and it was thriving and busy and suddenly everything became different. This gallery is making a difference, it's lovely here at the weekends."

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Re: Tracey Emin

Post  eddie on Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:45 pm

Why Tracey Emin is top draw at the Royal Academy

Jonathan Jones
The Guardian

The appointment of Emin as professor of drawing at the RA might surprise some. But this outstanding draughtswoman can draw a line that communicates feeling every time


Drawn with feeling ... Birds 2012 (detail), Tracey Emin's poster design for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Photograph: Tracey Emin/London 2012

Tracey Emin is the right choice for professor of drawing at the Royal Academy. At last, after centuries of getting it wrong, the institution that William Blake saw as a conspiracy against true art has got something right.

In the 18th century, the Royal Academy crushed the hopes of ambitious artists like James Barry, who wanted to raise the game of British art with a more imaginative direction, and enshrined the role of art as aristocratic decor and portraiture – provoking Blake's wrath.

In the 19th century it championed the pedantries of Victorian painting and helped exclude the impressionist revolution from these shores, holding us up on the road to modern art.

In the 20th century it maintained that exclusion of the new. Its famous president, the sporting painter Alfred Munnings, proposed to horsewhip Picasso.

Finally, in this century, it has done something intelligent. Emin is an excellent choice as drawing professor. So is Fiona Rae for the professorship of painting. Both are technically accomplished and genuinely interested in the media they profess. Rae is less of a celebrity but her many-layered abstractions are fascinating, intelligent works of art. She should have got a Turner prize years ago.

So should Emin, for that matter, though missing her Turner moment hasn't held her back any. Fame is like smoke, it gets in your eyes. A lot of people can't forgive Emin her glamour. But the evidence of her talent is there, on paper. Her drawings are the Real Thing. If you dismiss them you are foolhardy. She is an expressionist whose jagged angry line communicates feeling every time. Surely this is true art in drawing – to convey emotion through the texture of a line. Emin is a very pure artist in this very pure sense. She can draw a line that says everything she wants or needs to say. None of her gestures in other media say more than those rough, rapid scrawled lines. Emin is an outstanding draughtswoman – let's hope she can pass on her gift to students.

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Re: Tracey Emin

Post  eddie on Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:15 am


Perer Duggan's Artoons.

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