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.
Tracey Emin was born in London in 1963, and studied at Maidstone College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. 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 inside, 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.
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, was made a Royal Academician and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Art, London, and a Doctor of Letters from the University of Kent and Doctor of Philosophy from London Metropolitan University. During the Edinburgh Festival in 2008, Emin’s survey exhibition ’20 Years’ opened at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and then toured on to Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain and the Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland (March 19th – June 21st 2009). In May 2011, Emin had a major solo exhibition at the Hayward, London. Emin currently lives and works in London.