Tracey Emin tells John-Paul Pryor what it’s like to exhibit in her hometown, why art is the soul of a country and why, after so many years of rage and self-destruction, she wants to talk about love...
Tracey Emin’s homecoming show witnesses an artist once vilified by the national media confirmed as a “national treasure”; a woman now so firmly adopted to the bosom of the establishment that her latest works – serene meditations on love, loss and womanhood – are considered well placed in the company of Rodin and JMW Turner. It’s an interesting turnaround, as is the fact that her show at the exquisite Turner Contemporary contains little trace of the pain and anger that her teenage years in Margate provided for so much of her canon (it is, after all, the town where she was raped at 13 years old), but rather channel an uplifting, and almost classical romanticism. In fact, this show of delicately nuanced tapestries, mono-prints and paintings, entitled She Lay Down Deep Beneath The Sea, shows us a very different Tracey to the one who got drunk on live television in the 90s and presented the world with her stained, cigarette butt-strewn unmade bed. It paints a picture of an artist who, as she approaches 50, seems more broadly reflective, and perhaps somewhat more forgiving of human weaknesses and the heartbreaks that come hand-in-hand with human relationships. In this exclusive film for AnOther she tells our contributing arts editor John-Paul Pryor what it’s like to exhibit in her hometown, why art is the soul of a country and why, after so many years of rage and self-destruction, she wants to talk about love.
She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea: Tracey Emin at Turner Contemporary runs until September 23
Directed, and produced by John-Paul Pryor and Kim-Leng Hills