Tracey Emin, ‘Trust Yourself’, 2012, TWO x TWO

Emin's artistic output has included sewn fabric pieces, films, drawings, and neon text, seen here in Trust Yourself. Her neon works are always created in her handwriting, like notes written to herself or scrawled in the margins of a sketchbook.

Tracey Emin’s deeply autobiographical work is sure to elicit a response. Though many are content to dismiss her as a bawdy media personality - an art star with attitude - those who get to know her work are struck by its candor, rawness of emotion, and sensitivity to craft and material. Emin initially gained attention in the art world as part of the YBA (Young British Artist) group in the early 1990s, and her well-known tent-sculpture Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995 (which was destroyed in the 2004 Momart fire) was part of the Sensation exhibition. Her artistic output has included sewn fabric pieces, films, drawings, and neon text, seen here in Trust Yourself. Her neon works are always created in her handwriting, like notes written to herself or scrawled in the margins of a sketchbook. Translated into a glowing industrial sign, the message here takes on another level of importance, perhaps as a mantra or psychological reminder. In 2007, Emin represented Britain at the Venice Biennale. Her work is included in many of the world’s most prestigious public collections, including Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; British Museum, London; Camden Arts Center, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow; Hara Museum, Tokyo; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Portrait Gallery, London; Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Gallery, London; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

About Tracey Emin

A prominent member of the Young British Artists (YBAs), Emin works in a wide range of mediums, including film, painting, neon, embroidery, drawing, installation, and sculpture. Her work is intensely personal, revealing intimate details of her life with brutal honesty and poetic humor. She has spoken of “the narcissism behind what I do—the self, self, self—and how difficult it is for me to really share things, even though I think I am sharing all the time.” This paradoxical approach—at once audacious and confessional, narcissistic and self-deprecatory—earned Emin a nomination for the Turner Prize in 1999. Though she did not win, Emin received significant acclaim for her installation titled My Bed, which featured the artist’s unmade bed surrounded by personal items (from slippers to empty liquor bottles, cigarette butts, and condoms), exploring the allegorical qualities of a bed as a place of birth, sex, and death.

British, b. 1963, Croydon, United Kingdom, based in London, United Kingdom

Exhibition Highlights

2013
Tracey Emin: Angel without You | Knight Exhibition Series