Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin was born in Croydon, London in 1963, and today she lives and works in London and France. Emin is a an artists, like many others, who experiments in several different mediums. She has completed works in drawing, painting, sculpture, film, photography and neon text. She is a popular artist today because of her honest and raw depictions of women.

Emin came to prominence in the 90s as part of a group of artists referred to as YBAs (Young British Artists). This group of artists, including Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Angus Fairhurst, often exhibited together and collaborated. In 1993, in London, Emin and fellow artist Lucas opened a store where they sold their own handmade items. One of Emin’s earliest exhibitions took place in 1993–94 at the White Cube gallery on Duke Street. That show, ironically titled “My Major Retrospective,” gave a hint of things to come. It displayed significant items from Emin’s life, such as a hospital bracelet and personal correspondence. In addition to this, a quilt on which she had stitched the names of family members and notes to them.
In 1999 she became a finalist for the Turner Prize with the installation My Bed (1998). It was not only the artist’s actual bed but also rumpled sheets and what one critic called “uncomfortably personal debris,” including used underwear and empty liquor bottles. Emin’s work can be shocking in the way it absorbs and reflects her personal life. Whether in installations such as Everyone I Have Slept With 1963-1995 and My Bed, or her writings, she pushes boundaries.
Tracey Emin has always taken inspiration from expressionist painters Edvard Munch and Egon Schiele. Although, her work is also explicitly feminist and focuses on this. Seeing her work generates an experience of emotional honesty and reflection on meaningful moments from her life. After presenting Madonna with the UK Music Hall of Fame award in 2004, Madonna described Emin as “intelligent and wounded and not afraid to expose herself. She is provocative but she has something to say”. In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Emin Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for her contributions to the visual arts. She continues to create works that both challenge and provide solace to her viewers.

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