Now showing at the Hayward Gallery in London until 29 August, Tracey Emin’s new show is all about love or so she says! This exhibition covers every period of her career including some works seldom seen. There are some new sculptures made especially for the Hayward Gallery.
A frank confessional approach to her work is tinged with anguish, degradation and anger coming from a deeper place, a place of frustration and irony. It is as if she plays with the notion of love and all that it involves whether it is self-love, the love of another, family love and so on. When it comes to her own love life she makes work so explicit and in your face that it is hard to ignore it. It has such an impact and it is because of this Emin has become a house hold name. Her work has created a lot of dialogue and she is one of the most talked about British contemporary artists today.
The work and life of Tracey Emin have become, as some would suggest, a bit of a soap opera with much of the coverage in the press and media giving her the attention she desperately seeks, or so it seems? Through her narrative she tells us of abortions, being raped, dropping out of school at 15 and spending her time drinking cider on the beach. Then saying she had the best sex ever with all and sundry in Margate the place of her birth.
It is a show full of sexually explicit works it is hard to ignore the fact that Emin can and does resonate with lots of people. Through her lines of enquiry is she being brave and poignant transferring her experiences of feminine expression of dark and very real fears? For example in her work of 2002 I Do Not Expect To Be A Mother But I Do Expect to Die Alone she shares some of her innermost fears with the world making her undeniably an artist so willing to give of herself. Yet on the other hand once she started the ball rolling of this self-absorption she found it very hard to stop so in effect had to keep going. A good marketing ploy or what?
So where will Tracey Emin go from here? Having just viewed her latest interview on Sky Arts talking as candidly as ever to Laurie Taylor (watch it below). The latest episode in Tracey’s life is that of the recent death of her father, crying, she offers the audience an insight into her next set of plans, to make work about him. While we wait for the next chapter in the Tracey Emin soap opera, she’s busy doing the rounds at parties, VIP meetings, fashion shows, sailing around the South of France where she now has a house and where she mingles with the “it crowd” – the life of an artist has changed considerably. Has she done it all for love?