A new room of works by Tracey Emin has opened at Tate Britain containing several works newly acquired by Tate, one of which is shown in public for the first time. The room is part of the new BP British Art Displays at Tate Britain which are launched collectively on 20 September.
The acquisitions reflect Emin’s use of a wide range of media. Hate and Power can be a Terrible Thing 2004, a new appliqué blanket, is shown along with works drawn from across Emin’s career, the earliest being May Dodge/My Nan 1993, an affectionate piece about the artist’s grandmother which contains handwritten text, photographs from her family album and her grandmother’s handmade lavender bag. Her powerful text-based work Exploration of the Soul 1994 is a handwritten account, spread across thirty-four panels, of Emin’s school years in Margate and the events leading up to a sexual assault at the age of thirteen. The Perfect Place to Grow 2001 is a large sculptural installation featuring a wooden birdhouse reminiscent of a beach hut which is surrounded by flowers. Visitors are encouraged to climb a step ladder at the top of which they are invited to peer through a hole in the door to view a video of the artist’s father. Filmed in Cyprus, the video shows him making his way through dense undergrowth before presenting a flower to the camera.
Tracey Emin is one of the most prominent members of the generation of artists that emerged in London in the early 1990s. Personal experience and artist production have always been intricately linked in her work, which is often unashamedly honest and designed to promote debate about basic human needs. She achieves this by relaying her own experience of depression, abortion, bereavement, alcoholism and sex. Her everyday reportage seems to consist of joyful epiphanies followed by periods of self-doubt and isolation.
While Emin’s practice is widely known to be bold and provocative, the work often proves surprisingly delicate and fragile. Emin’s intimate engagement with her materials and sensitive use of subject matter conjures up a landscape of memories, evoking her upbringing in the seaside town of Margate and episodes from her adult life.
May Dodge/My Nan 1993 was acquired with the support of Tate Members.
Tracey Emin BP Displays at Tate Britain 1500-2004
Level 2 Galleries
From 7 September 2004
Open every day 10.00-17.50
For more information please call 020 7887 8008
The full range of the new BP British Art Displays is launched on 20 September. The opening of the displays is marked by British Art Week, supported by BP, a celebration of British art past and present which includes a artist discussions, a family day, celebrity talks and a free public British Art Party. A press view for the new displays and British Art Week is on Monday 20 September 11.00-14.00.