Tracey EminWhy I Never Became a Dancer 1995

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Artwork details

Tracey Emin (born 1963)
Why I Never Became a Dancer
Date 1995
MediumFilm, Super 8 mm, shown as video, projection, colour and sound (mono)
Dimensionsduration: 6min, 32sec
Acquisition Presented anonymously 1997
Not on display


Emin uses her emotional life as the source and subject matter of her art. This takes the form of narrative or documentation of traumatic events such as the death of a family member or close friend, her rape and her abortions, coupled with the direct expression of such feelings as love, hate, anger, fear and desire. Autobiographical and diaristic texts appear on her monoprints, her quilt-like wall hangings and in small publications such as Explorations of the Soul 1994 (an edition of 200); or they are narrated aloud, as in this video. Her artistic production could be seen as an attempt to find a therapeutic resolution to her damaged past and the continuing difficulties and frustrations of the present. This creative attitude is encapsulated in words appliquéed on a chair she inherited from her grandmother: 'It's not what you inherit. It's what you do with your inheritance.' By sharing thoughts and feelings of the type for which people are generally made to feel ashamed, Emin taps into collective experience in an affirmative way… (read more)

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