For decades, Tracey Emin has been synonymous with provocative and sexually explicit art. A prominent member of the Young British Artists (YBAs) and a Turner Prize nominee, Emin has inspired a generation of female artists who explore womanhood and feminism.
Tracey Emin art has been exhibited internationally and features in public and private collections around the world, including the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Hara Museum in Tokyo, Museum van Loon in Amsterdam and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
Many art collectors look to buy Tracey Emin art as an investment in an established talent. Here at Maddox Gallery, we are proud to share some of her works with our visitors.
Tracey Emin art has a confessional tone
Tracey Emin emerged in the art world during the 1980s as part of the YBA movement, with controversial pieces such as “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995,” “My Bed” and “The Last Thing I Said To You is Don’t Leave Me Here.”
Often referred to as the “bad girl of British art,” Emin’s artistic persona directly challenges feminine social norms. Rejecting the stereotype of the polite, modest and reserved woman, she mines autobiographical details with brutal honesty and dark humour, and her artworks have a distinct performative quality to them.
Her work tackles universal themes such as relationships, human behaviour and gender through a highly personal and confessional approach, revealing intimate details of her life and examining her hopes, fears, failures and successes.
There should be something revelatory about art… It should be totally creative and open doors for new thoughts and experiences” – Tracey Emin
However, Emin avoids defining her ideology as aligned with a larger political cause. She can be considered a third-wave feminist, due to her belief that a woman can define her sexuality on her own terms.
Many of her works force viewers to focus on taboo aspects of femininity, and highlight the inconsistencies between men and women’s ability to engage with certain topics.
Using conventional mediums to create subversive works
Tracey Emin has worked in a range of mediums throughout her career such as film, painting, neon, embroidery, drawing, installation and sculpture.
Emin rose to fame with her 1995 piece titled “Everyone I have Ever Slept With 1963-1995,” a blue tent appliqued with several names in needlework. Using conventional handicraft techniques – ‘women’s work’ – for radical intentions, Emin used a traditional gendered practices to share her own message.
Receiving a nomination for the Turner Prize in 1999 for her installation titled My Bed, Emin featured her own unmade bed in a state of disarray during a period of depression after a failed relationship. Surrounded by personal items such as slippers, empty liquor bottles, cigarette butts and condoms, the artwork explored the allegorical qualities of a bed as a place of birth, rest, sex and death.
She has also released several autobiographical films and books focused on her troubled childhood, and has spoken of “the narcissism behind what I do—the self, self, self.”
Recognising Emin as an established artist
As Tracey Emin art became known around the world, she began to receive official recognition for her achievements.
In 2007, Emin became the second female artist ever to represent Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale. That same year, Emin was made a Royal Academician and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Art, a Doctor of Letters from the University of Kent and a Doctor of Philosophy from London Metropolitan University.
In 2011, Emin became the Royal Academy’s Professor of Drawing, and in 2012 she was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her contributions to the visual arts.