Continuing our In Focus series, this free exhibition compares important works from the Tate collection, demonstrating a shared concern with birth, death and spirituality in both artists’ work.
At the heart is one of Britain’s most renowned artworks of the past 20 years, Tracey Emin’s (b.1963) My Bed 1998. This will be the first time My Bed has been displayed in the north of England. Featuring Emin’s own bed, it offers an unflinching self-portrait in which the artist herself is absent.
My Bed, along with drawings by Emin from the Tate collection, will be shown alongside those of the visionary British poet and artist, William Blake (1757–1827). Presented in the context of Emin’s empty bed, and symbolising the absent figure, highlights include Pity c.1975 and The Crucifixion: ‘Behold Thy Mother’ c.1805.
Blake stood against the hypocrisies of his age championing liberalism, sexual freedoms and above all freedom of expression. This new display affirms Blake’s Romantic idea of artistic truth through existential pain and the possibility of spiritual rebirth through art, shared in the work of Tracey Emin.