Late at the Foundling with Tracey Emin
19 March 2010
Tracey Emin was joined by curator Gill Hedley, for an exclusive insight into the Museum’s 2010 exhibition Mat Collishaw, Tracey Emin & Paula Rego: At the Foundling.
Responding to the story of the Foundling Hospital, the exhibition brought three internationally-celebrated artists together for the first time. Late at the Foundling was a series in which the Mat Collishaw, Tracey Emin & Paula Rego discussed their works with curator Gill Headley.
Tracey Emin is one of the best-known artists working in Britain today. Born in London in 1963, she is a central figure in the generation of Young British Artists (or YBAs) that emerged in the early 1990s, and has produced some of the most memorable, compelling and iconic works of the last twenty years. Throughout this time her autobiographical, confessional art has tapped into the mainstream of public consciousness. Emin studied at Maidstone College of Art, and the Royal College of Art in London, and has had major exhibitions around the world. She became a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 2007, and in the same year, was selected to represent Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale. In addition to the many public readings that she has made, Emin directed her first feature film, Top Spot in 2004. The following year she wrote Strange land and has been a regular columnist for The Independent newspaper.
Central to Emin’s work are ideas of self-portraiture expressed through her practice, which is so intimately bound up in her own biography. Drawing directly upon her personal experiences, she often refers, with disarming and sometimes painful frankness, to traumatic episodes in her life from her childhood growing up in the seaside resort of Margate through to her teenage desire for sexual freedom that later resulted in unexpected pregnancies and abortions. Drawing upon these life events as inspiration for works, Emin creates works made from a range of media including painting, drawing, film, photography through to carefully crafted appliqués, memorabilia sculptures and neon texts. Emin's great achievement is to eloquently recite from her background and personal experiences in a unique form of confessional art that has a non-voyeuristic intimacy, neither tragic nor sentimental in manner that deeply resonates with her audience.
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