Wednesday, 13 November 2013

(Artist) Tracy Emin: Respect

This is quite a personal post and well overdue.
I was thinking about how respecting a person doesn't automatically mean you then like or agree with everything they do or say.

Tracey Emin would be a great example of this thought trail, whilst as an artist I think she has done so much good in terms of exposing textiles, fabric and the workings of stitch to the public as something equal to paint or sculpture using old school materials like plaster - that in fact stitch and thread are about as old school as you can get. She also has an interesting way of drawing that is loose and sketchy with a genuinely warm perspective and style. Delicate still.  

Olympics and Paralympics Poster
(House to Home, 2013)

I actually found myself with mixed feelings. I liked the poster for its simplicity, it was brave and unlike the other posters it seemed much more personal and like a small note on a scrap bit of paper - yet more treasurable. Breaking boundaries; who says a poster needs to be an explosion of colour and images and an assault to the senses?
However it was very plain, there seems to be no fanfare in it - no amazing triumph or sense of...well power and endurance and strength. Though looking at the image there is a kind of strength to it's grace of image. Also, comparing to the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics (wow has it been that long ago?), where is the colour in this poster? Also lacking in anything sports related except the logo. But again I can refer to my above point, who says a poster needs to be a graphics montage or drawing that hurls itself at the eyes and is painfully loud.  

Emin is one gutsy artist, and honestly if someone who really dislikes her work was to say anything about her it would be that she is strange, or prevalent, that her works refuse to be snuffed out quietly. Tracy Emin will not be cautious or careful. I find her work at times to be far too personal, a scrutiny of her life that is too close to even the sad or gruesome tales. She seems to be like a ship, going form one storm to the next.
But, I admire her in spite of this, for being bold and ballsy, being so personal with her work. She is an honest artist, she doesn't say 'well no this didn't effect me', but revels in the fact that the work is her and her experiences. She actually narrates her story through art. Could her work be seen as a literal self biography? The un made bed? The blankets and the tent? Yes, of course.
Melanie McGrath's essay (2013) regarding the artist, also relates or creates an analogy of Emin's work being like text, like you're reading something as if it were a set of letters making coherent words and phrases, looking at materials she uses and shapes she creates or ideas Emin plays with.  

What is the point of making art unless it confronts or explores something? It can't be just for visual kicks, because now you can get that from the internet, from pinterest, facebook, online newspapers and, well, any where.  

So yes, I respect Tracey Emin as an artist, even as a person, because in the end she presents herself with honesty. She doesn't hide away and pretend to be what she isn't. It helps that she's rich, her exhibitions reviewed and that she is continuing in her practice, but not that much really.  

Cumming, L. (2011) 'Tracey Emin: Love is What Your Want - review', the Guardian, 22nd May (Online) Available at: (Accessed: 5th October 2013).

Dorment, R. (2011) 'Tracey Emin: Love Is What You Want, Hayward Gallery, review', The Telegraph, 16th May. (Online) Available at: (Accessed 5th October 2013).
McGrath. M. (2013) 'Few Artists are Subjected to Fierce Public Scritiny in the British Tabloids Like Tracey Emin. But Is She A Great Artist?', Tate Magazine, no. 1. (Online) Available at: (Accessed: 21st October 2013).

House to Home (2013) 'London Olympics 2012 - 10 of the best home accessories', (Online) Available at: (Accessed: 11th November 2013).