Tracey Emin


Born in 1963 in Croydon (United Kingdom)
Lives and works in London (United Kingdom)

Tracey Emin received a Master of Fine Arts from the Royal College of Art, and was awarded an honorary degree from the institution in 2007. Emin’s practice bears testament to her involvement with the Young British Artists group, known for its experimental approach to materials. Emin’s work is inherently autobiographical and provocative in its subject matter; the artist notably presented her own bed as an installation piece at the Tate Gallery in 1999. Everyone I Have Ever Slept With (1995) and My Bed (1998) have marked the history of art for their overt engagement with feminist discourse.  Her body of work holds a secure place in the collections of several prestigious institutions, which include the Museum of Modern Art (New York, United States) and the The Tate Modern (London, United Kingdom) amongst others.

The painted work This is life without you - You made me Feel like This is part of a recent series pursuing the Edvard Munch and Egon Schiele’s figurative and expressive tradition. Emin explores the intrinsic suffering of human experience, from the fraught territory of sexual relationships to the physical trauma of abortion and the recent passing of her mother. In a free and asserted gesture, the artist expresses her emotional turmoil by a tension between the honesty of confession and the use of a stylized aesthetic. The application of a reddish chromatic palette heightens the physicality of the female body and makes an allusion to desire, birth and death.

From the 1990s onward, neon lights become a distinctive element of Emin’s multimedia practice. The British artist considers neon to be a powerful tool to arouse viewers’ emotions. The industrial material allows her to generate highly personal content that places her most intimate desires and thoughts on display. In a stylistic rendering faithful to her first neon artworks, You Made Me Feel Like This expresses in Emin’s own calligraphy a short and revealing sentence that acts on a conceptual level as a missive. The artist’s neon sentences are poignant, yet manifest a certain ambiguity. Born out of her personal experiences, Emin’s vague messages imitate the universal character of exchanges between lovers.


Tracey Emin, This is life without you - You made me Feel like This, 2018, Acrylic on canvas, 59 3/4" x 72" (151,8 x 182,9 cm). Photo credit: Romain Guilbault


Tracey Emin, You Made Me Feel Like This, 2018, Ed. 1/3, Neon (magenta and light red), 28 1/8" x 65 5/8" (71,4 x 166,7 cm). Photo credit: Romain Guilbault

Other exhibitions of the artist at Arsenal Contemporary Art