11 Aug 2011

Tracey Emin: Love is what you want

Tracey Emin uses neon as a medium to illuminate emotions and feelings in graphics.
Growing up in Margate, neon was in cafés and along the golden mile of amusement arcades.
 Far from having seedy connotations, it has an alluring quality for Tracey Emin.
"There's a lot of money in chairs" - a legacy from her grandma.
 Tracey tells her own life story on the back in handwritten patches and appliqué.
The appliquéd blanket uses fabric from old clothes belonging to her family and friends.

I used to be quite dismissive of Tracey Emins work - finding it crude. How ever, over the years, the more I read and saw interviews with her, the more interesting, honest and endearing I found her. She doesn't try to hide her lifestyle, past or present, nor try to be someone she's not. She uses her life story as a starting point for her art. Pieces reflect her close relationship with her grandma, mother and friends, the various medical procedures she has had and Margate where she spent her formative years and which shaped much of her earlier works. "Love is what you want", currently showing at one of my favourite galleries, The Hayward on the South Bank, was the first Tracey Emin exhibition that I have been to. The exhibition included a range of her work in different media from her wonderful neon installations to appliqued blankets to a video installation of a chat with her mother. Very touching.
"White Rose": Created from 90ft of blown and bent tube.