Stirred: Tracey Emin


Click through image to go to facebook event. See biographies of guests here.

Tracey Emin was one of the most controversial of Young British Artists. Her art is often described as confessional, bold, unapologetic and raw. Her work spans installations such as her infamous bed, through to illustrations, sculpture, embroidery and paintings. She has managed to infiltrate the highest echelons of the art world. As with our previous nights themed around artists we want you write poetry inspired Emin’s work and her life. You can also take inspiration from interviews and articles she has written. Tonight at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Stirred Poetry Workshops will explore inspiration from Tracey Emin’s work and look at the amazing exhibitions of Sarah Lucas and Cornelia Parker also.

She often incorporates text into her work creating poignant art that feels emotionally honest

Here we have a pillow that seems to embody anxiety and insomnia with the words ‘’TRACEY BE BRAVE’’ the self voice attempting comfort.

Here she makes bronze look fragile and add words of menace ‘’A CLOUD OF BLOOD INVISIBLE MIST’’

She has done a whole series of neon signs,  she summons heart break in a few words with ‘’I whisper to my past do I have another choice’’

There are moments of jubilance such as this shot titled ‘’sometimes I feel beautiful’’

She struggles with the creative process, this work expresses the difficulty she has in creating.

And in this article  in which she says ’’ There are some days when I can draw, and some days when I can’t draw. It’s not that my hand doesn’t work properly – it’s my whole arm, my whole body, everything that is connected to the finished result on the paper.’’

Extract from this biography:

‘’After a difficult childhood, Tracey Emin squatted in London after dropping out of school at thirteen. This period of her life provided a strong inspiration for much of her later work. She studied art in Essex and London, deciding to destroy all her work after a traumatic abortion in 1989. She began working only several years later, reworking her past by producing confessional letters and combining them with mementos from her youth. Tracey Emin presented this material at her first solo exhibition at the White Cube Gallery in London in 1993, provocatively entitled ‘My Major Retrospective’. The show told her intense life story mostly set in Margate, the place where she grew up, containing a disturbing streak of sexual abjection, but at the same time presented with passion and strong irony.’’

What I admire and what resonates with me most about her work is the need she feels she needs to bring up the deepest darkest emotions and experiences from her psyche and make them into art which is both beautiful and confrontational. Her art is both cathartic and painful both to create and experience.

‘’Roberta Smith of The New Yorker says the following about Tracey’s work:

If Tracey Emin could sing, she might be Judy Garland, a bundle of irresistible, pathetic, ferocious, self-indulgent, brilliant energy. Since she can’t, or doesn’t, she writes, incorporating autobiographical texts and statements into drawings, monoprints, watercolors, collages, quilts, neon sculptures, installations and videotapes. In her art she tells all, all the truths, both awful and wonderful, but mostly awful, about her life. Physical and psychic pain in the form of rejection, incest, rape, abortion and sex with strangers figure in this tale, as do love, passion and joy.’’






The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.

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Posted in Anna Percy, Events, Feminist thinking
One comment on “Stirred: Tracey Emin
  1. […] Mon 27 Apr, 7.30pm, Three Minute Theatre, Afflecks Arcade, 35-39, Oldham Street, M1 1JG – more info […]

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The Stirred team at Reclaim the Night Manchester 2015
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