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Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible Ocula Report Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible 17 Apr 2019 : Federica Bueti for Ocula

I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...

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Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui Ocula Conversation Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui

The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...

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The National 2019: New Australian Art Ocula Report The National 2019: New Australian Art 13 Apr 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...

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Tracey Emin

b. 1963, United Kingdom

Confessional, candid, challenging and poignant. These are some of the words commonly used to describe the works of Tracey Emin. Emin is most celebrated for her visualisation of universal contemporary experiences, drawn from her own personal memories, dreams and body. A modern-day Expressionist, her work encompasses painting, installation, sculpture, photography, embroidery, neon and drawing.

Emin is remembered as one of the Young British Artists (YBAs)—a loose grouping of artists who became known for their nonconformist art and larger-than-life attitudes in the 1990s. Among her YBA contemporaries—including Damien Hirst and Jake and Dinos Chapman—Emin was close friends with Sarah Lucas, and in 1993 the two young artists opened a shop to sell their artworks. Emin's breakthrough, however, came from the works that, through their stark honesty to the point of provocation, deconstructed the border between life and art, and openly shared her personal experiences. Inside a tent, Emin appliquéd the names of every person she had shared a bed with from the time of her birth to the year 1995, thus creating Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995 (1995). Her most iconic work, My Bed (1998), is an installation of her bed from a depressive phase when she did not leave her bed for several days. Surrounding the unmade mattress are empty bottles, used condoms and tissues, which immortalises a particular moment in the artist's life with its loneliness, despair and private suffering intact. Emotionally powerful and outrageously frank, Emin's works redefined the ways in which a female artist could discuss herself—her life, her body—in public.

Often at the centre of Emin's work is the female nude, especially her own—a tendency that has led some critics to regard her oeuvre as feminist. Although the artist herself has somewhat denied association, her blunt exploration of the female body and sexuality reflect the feminist belief that a woman can define her own sexuality. Between 2009 and 2010, Emin collaborated with Louise Bourgeois in the last months of the famously feminist artist's life. In the resulting exhibition Do Not Abandon Me (2011), the autobiographical paintings showed the two artists engaging in different aspects of their lives, from Emin's traumatic memories to Bourgeois' experience as a mother. In relation to the use of the female body in her work, Emin reflected in a conversation with Ocula Magazine that 'I know my body better than anyone else. I am my best model; it makes it really different that I am the woman because I am not viewing my body with a sexual gaze but with an understanding one.'

Emin was born in London in 1963 and grew up in the seaside town of Margate. She was inspired by the expressive qualities of JMW Turner and Egon Schiele from an early age, and she closely studied their styles as a student. Returning to London, she graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in painting. Over her long career, Emin has exhibited in the UK, Holland, Germany, Japan, Australia and the United States. Her work has been subject to several survey exhibitions, including her first major retrospective at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2008); Hayward Gallery, London (2011) and Turner Contemporary, Margate (2012). Cited as a national treasure by the Guardian in 2015, Emin represented Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale and Queen Elizabeth II appointed her Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her contributions to the visual arts in 2013. Emin currently lives and works in England and France.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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An Insane Desire For You by Tracey Emin contemporary artwork Tracey EminAn Insane Desire For You, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
183.2 x 183 x 3.5 cm
Xavier Hufkens
I Can't Believe How much How much I Loved You by Tracey Emin contemporary artwork Tracey EminI Can't Believe How much How much I Loved You, 2012 Neon (coral pink and clear blue cross out)
122.6 x 185.2 x 5 cm
Xavier Hufkens
Always There by Tracey Emin contemporary artwork Tracey EminAlways There, 2018 acrylic on canvas
20.3 x 20.3 x 1.8 cm
Xavier Hufkens
The Ghost of Me by Tracey Emin contemporary artwork Tracey EminThe Ghost of Me, 2018 gouache on paper
10 x 14.6 cm
Xavier Hufkens
She Grew up Knowing the Dead Could Live by Tracey Emin contemporary artwork Tracey EminShe Grew up Knowing the Dead Could Live acrylic on canvas
152.8 x 152.8 x 3.4 cm
Xavier Hufkens
Hotel Grand VIII by Tracey Emin contemporary artwork Tracey EminHotel Grand VIII, 2015 gouache on paper
40.6 x 50.7 cm
Xavier Hufkens
Always More X by Tracey Emin contemporary artwork Tracey EminAlways More X, 2015 neon (warm white)
83.5 x 117 x 5 cm
Xavier Hufkens
I held your heart by Tracey Emin contemporary artwork Tracey EminI held your heart, 2017 Bronze, dark silver nitrate finish
18 x 30 x 22 cm
Xavier Hufkens

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Tracey Emin, The Memory of your Touch at Xavier Hufkens, Brussels
Closed
8 September–21 October 2017 Tracey Emin The Memory of your Touch Xavier Hufkens, 6 rue St-Georges, Brussels
Contemporary art exhibition, Tracey Emin, I Cried Because I Love You at Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong
Closed
21 March–21 May 2016 Tracey Emin I Cried Because I Love You Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Billy Childish, Tracey Emin, Teresita Fernández, Angel Otero, and Juergen Teller, Horizon at Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong
Closed
15 January–7 March 2015 Billy Childish, Tracey Emin, Teresita Fernández, Angel Otero, and Juergen Teller Horizon Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

In Memory of a Free Public: Harbour Arts Sculpture Park Ocula Report In Memory of a Free Public: Harbour Arts Sculpture Park 16 Mar 2018 : Hera Chan for Ocula

It was at Tamar Park that the initial sit-ins took place around the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, sparking the Umbrella Movement in 2014. Thousands of students advocated for universal suffrage in the response to electoral reforms enacted on Hong Kong by China's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. It was here, on 26 September...

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Art Basil [sic] Ocula Report Art Basil [sic] 31 Mar 2016 : Diana d'Arenberg for Ocula

I was Brainwashed the Friday before Art Basel Hong Kong kicked off. French street artist, Mr. Brainwash, was holding court—to an audience full of Hong Kong society types, complete with bodyguards, and media—with a spray can in a graffiti decorated shell-space in Lan Kwai Fong. It was one of several property developer-artist...

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Tracey Emin Ocula Conversation Tracey Emin Artist, United Kingdom

On the eve of the opening of Tracey Emin’s exhibition I Cried Because I Love You (21 March–21 May 2016) at Lehmann Maupin and White Cube in Hong Kong, Ocula interviewed the artist about her practice. The conversation took Emin’s survey exhibition She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea at Turner Contemporary in 2012—located in...

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Rachel Lehmann Ocula Conversation Rachel Lehmann Founding Partner of Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

Rachel Lehmann is not only one half of the gallery powerhouse that is Lehmann Maupin, but she is also an international citizen of the world. Lehmann was born in Asmara, Ethiopia, and studied at the University of Fribourg in France. She worked at the legendary Sonnabend Gallery in New York, and was the proprietor of two contemporary galleries in...

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In Related Press

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Frieze Sculpture 2018: the highlights Related Press Frieze Sculpture 2018: the highlights Wallpaper* : 4 July 2018

Between Wimbledon and the FIFA World Cup, there's been plenty of distractions from London's unusually Mediterranean weather of late.

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Tracey Emin on Being “Bombarded” By 2017, and Her Year of Honesty Ahead Related Press Tracey Emin on Being “Bombarded” By 2017, and Her Year of Honesty Ahead Vanity Fair : 11 December 2017

When someone talks about sharks at Art Basel Miami Beach, typically they're referring to powerful collectors and art dealers who swim through the annual art fair gobbling up everything they see. But when British artist Tracey Emin brought them up in a chat with me about her week at the beach, she was actually referring to the sea creatures. She's...

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'SHE': International women artists at Shanghai Long Museum West Bund Related Press 'SHE': International women artists at Shanghai Long Museum West Bund Art Radar Journal : 26 September 2016

Launched at the end of July 2016, SHE: International Women Artists Exhibition at Shanghai Long Museum West Bund presents a collection of works by female artists that are, according to curator Wang Wei, 'gathered together not only by their gender, but also by the true creativity'.Exhibitions of women’s art have been hesitant...

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Tracey Emin makes her own crumpled bed and lies in it, on Merseyside Related Press Tracey Emin makes her own crumpled bed and lies in it, on Merseyside The Guardian : 16 September 2016

Tracey Emin throws her knickers on to the bed. She’s not quite satisfied, so she retrieves them and has another go. It takes five increasingly athletic throws and a lot of laughing until the pale blue underwear is in just the right state of casual abandon. For this is no ordinary bed. It is THE bed.The bed that Count Christian Duerckheim...

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