Tracey Emin’s art is one of disclosure, using her life events as inspiration for works ranging from painting, drawing, video and installation, to photography, needlework and sculpture. Emin reveals her hopes, humiliations, failures and successes in candid and, at times, excoriating work that is frequently both tragic and humorous.
Emin’s work has an immediacy and often sexually provocative attitude that firmly locates her oeuvre within the tradition of feminist discourse. By re-appropriating conventional handicraft techniques – or ‘women’s work’ – for radical intentions, Emin’s work resonates with the feminist tenets of the ‘personal as political’. In Everyone I’ve Ever Slept With, Emin used the process of appliqué to inscribe the names of lovers, friends and family within a small tent, into which the viewer had to crawl, becoming both voyeur and confidante. Her interest in the work of Edvard Munch and Egon Schiele particularly inform Emin’s paintings, monoprints and drawings, which explore complex personal states and ideas of self-representation through manifestly expressionist styles and themes.
Tracey Emin was born in London in 1963, and studied at Maidstone College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. She has exhibited extensively internationally including solo and group exhibitions in Holland, Germany, Japan, Australia and America. In 2007 Emin represented Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale, becoming the second female artist ever to do so. 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 she became the Royal Academy’s Professor of Drawing and in 2012, Queen Elizabeth II appointed her Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her contributions to the visual arts.
She talks to the editor of GQ magazine.