Tracey Emin

born 1963

Tracey Emin, 'My Bed' 1998
My Bed 1998
© Tracey Emin
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Biography

Tracey Emin, CBE, RA (born 3 July 1963) is an English contemporary artist known for her autobiographical and confessional artwork. Emin produces work in a variety of media including drawing, painting, sculpture, film, photography, neon text and sewn appliqué. Once the "enfant terrible" of the Young British Artists in the 1980s, Tracey Emin is now a Royal Academician of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Known for their confrontational subject matter and portrayal of taboo subjects, critics accused the Young British Artists of relying on "shock tactics" rather than artistic talent. Yet the nature of discussing taboo subjects can at first appear shocking, discussing her experiences as a female and her relationship with her body has been vital for a younger generation of women.

In 1997, her work Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995, a tent appliquéd with the names of everyone the artist had ever shared a bed with was shown at Charles Saatchi's Sensation exhibition held at the Royal Academy in London. The same year, she gained considerable media exposure when she swore multiple times in a state of drunkenness on a live discussion programme on British television.

In 1999, Emin had her first solo exhibition in the United States at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, entitled Every Part of Me's Bleeding. Later that year, she was a Turner Prize nominee and exhibited My Bed – a readymade installation, consisting of her own unmade dirty bed, in which she had spent several weeks drinking, smoking, eating, sleeping and having sexual intercourse while undergoing a period of severe emotional flux. The artwork featured used condoms and blood-stained underwear.

Emin is a panelist and speaker: she has lectured at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney (2010), the Royal Academy of Arts (2008), and the Tate Britain in London (2005) about the links between creativity and autobiography, and the role of subjectivity and personal histories in constructing art. Emin's art takes many different forms of expression including needlework and sculpture, drawing, video and installation, photography and painting.

In December 2011, she was appointed Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy; with Fiona Rae, she is one of the first two female professors since the Academy was founded in 1768.

Emin lives in Spitalfields, east London.

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