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Artists Tracey Emin
Tracey Emin Photo

Tracey Emin

British Sculptor, Photographer, Painter, and Conceptual Artist

Movements and Styles: Young British Artists, Conceptual Art, Feminist Art, Body Art

Born: July 3, 1963 - London, UK

Tracey Emin Timeline

Quotes

"I think a lot of the people who have an understanding of my work have an understanding of guttural emotional experiences and cathartic moments within their own life, and so they identify it within my work."
Tracey Emin
"Modern Art is merely the means by which we terrorize ourselves."
Tracey Emin
"Women go on getting better. It's like a light bulb, women burn and burn and burn, with men it's just one big flash."
Tracey Emin
"What is truth? Truth doesn't really exist. Who is going to judge whether my experience of an incident is more valid than yours? No one can be trusted to be the judge of that."
Tracey Emin
"A man doesn't know what it's like to be a woman; it's that simple."
Tracey Emin
"I've been making bronze sculptures for a long time. My sculptures are wholly unsuccessful and uncommercial. No one is even the remotest bit interested in them. So it's almost like my hobby."
Tracey Emin

"I realized I was my work, I was the essence of my work - I always say that after I'm dead my work isn't going to be half as good."

Tracey Emin Signature

Synopsis

Tracey Emin is often called the "bad girl of British art" for her raucous public appearances and self-righteous art which are quite contrary to societal norms in England, and previous notions of femininity. She is best known for her deeply personal and confessional artwork that she promotes through her celebrity and use of the popular media. Personal traumatic events such as unreported rape, public humiliation, sexism, botched abortions, alcoholism, and promiscuity have been her topics. The quality of Emin's artwork is often contested, from the critique of expressionism, to the politics of female representation. However, it is this collapse of the identity of the artist and her work that begs for rigorous thought.

Key Ideas

Her work is often referred to as confessional, for she uses her own personal history as the subject for her artwork. She has used her own body as medium in self-portraits and performances. Her artworks enact self-mapping and self-commemorating through the possible healing and spiritual aspect of art.
The fame Emin received was more from press gossip than from critical debate for her artwork and her persona is her own brand of unapologetic artistic commodity that violated social norms (particularly British norms). Before reality television programming became as large of a phenomenon as it is today, Emin was elevated to celebrity status through the contested reception of her public appearances. Her brash unwelcomed commentary and defiant telling of a woman's autobiography fed on the public's love of voyeurist-like television sealed Emin's prominence in the contemporary art world.
She rejected the stereotype of the polite modest Englishwoman, and publicly aired her dirty laundry through her artwork and public appearances. Emin's artwork has a performative quality, and has a function other than mere self-expression in that her persona has been created for her by the public, and she has played the "bad girl" that the public has critically embraced. The societal response is part of her artwork; she encourages critique even if it comes in the form of gossip tabloids.
Although she rejects any notions of her work being for a feminist greater good, her courage to be vulnerable and honest through her artwork collapses the edge between life and art, and has brought attention to the discrepancies between men and women's ability to critically and publicly engage with topics such as alcoholism, gender roles, and, most controversially, sex.

Biography

Tracey Emin Photo

Childhood

Tracey Emin was born in Surrey, in England. She grew up in Margate, on the coast of Kent, with her twin brother Paul. She lived with her mother in a successful seaside hotel, where she claims she was treated "like a princess." Her Turkish father lived with them for half of the week, spending the other half with his wife and other children. After a few years, Emin's father left and took his money with him, leaving Emin's mother bankrupt.

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Tracey Emin Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Tracey Emin
Interactive chart with Tracey Emin's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Edvard MunchEdvard Munch
Egon SchieleEgon Schiele
Louise BourgeoisLouise Bourgeois
Bruce NaumanBruce Nauman

Personal Contacts

Sarah LucasSarah Lucas
David BowieDavid Bowie

Movements

Conceptual ArtConceptual Art
Feminist ArtFeminist Art
Body ArtBody Art

Influences on Artist
Tracey Emin
Tracey Emin
Years Worked: 1984 - present
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Laure ProvostLaure Provost

Personal Contacts

Damien HirstDamien Hirst

Movements

Young British ArtistsYoung British Artists

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Anna Souter

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Anna Souter
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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