Emin's art is so intrinsically bound up with her life that she has described her creativity as a moment of conception and her drawings as her children. Both confessional and cathartic, her art serves as conduit for emotional release and discussion.
Her latest exhibition at White Cube Gallery Bermondsey is an ode to the joy and suffering intrinsic to human existence. Pathos, anger, love, anguish, pain and torment thrum at the heart of this body of new work, installed throughout the gallery's spaces. Neon sculptures, paintings, large-scale bronze sculptures, film and an ongoing new photographic series entitled Insomnia, taken using an i-Phone at different moments during hours of tormented sleeplessness, pulsate with raw emotion. As a curated collection, these works tell the painful chapters of a well-writ story: Tracey Emin the woman, the artist, the lover, the daughter is laid bare in an unapologetic and brave survey of self-examination.
Tracey Emin: A Fortnight of Tears Installation Shot at White Cube Gallery Bermondsey.
Emin addresses familiar themes in this new body of work: images of motherhood and the female form appear again and again, both in painting and sculpture. As do bloodied nudes, physically abused nudes and allusions to death. But each canvas broaches new stylistic territory. In these new paintings Emin employs a palette of pinks and vermillion reds, bringing an uninhibited energy and creating a heightened physicality with her fresh vision of gestural figuration.
At the heart of the exhibition is The Ashes Room, hung with works evoking different states of bereavement. Grief looms large here; trauma haunts the lofty white-washed walls of White Cube; fear suffocates. The four vitrines of archival material in The Ashes Room further illuminate the confessional messages imbued in the paintings on the wall.
Indeed, as with much of Emin's art, image and word work in tandem. Words resonate loudly in White Cube's silent galleries: there's the neon light sculpture, I Longed for You, 2019 in the main gallery; the collection of hand-written messages scrawled on her canvases; and the artist's own, surprisingly melodic voice, played on loop in the endnote exhibit How It Feels, 1996 – a pivotal early film depicting the artist walking through the streets of London recounting the ordeal of her first abortion in 1990.
Tracey Emin, You Kept Watching Me, 2018
When seen en masse Emin's work can feel somewhat repetitive, but look at each work in isolation and it is piercing. This exhibition is an exquisite portrait of loss, resignation, acceptance and survival. Like her work or loathe it, its impact is difficult to ignore.
|What||Review: Tracey Emin: A Fortnight of Tears, White Cube Bermondsey|
|Where||White Cube Bermondsey, 144-152 Bermondsey Street , London, SE1 3TQ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||London Bridge (underground)|
06 Feb 19 – 07 Apr 19, Closed on Mondays, Sunday 12 – 6pm
|Website||Please click here for more information|