Love to love

31.05.2011 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

The problem with success is that once you have it it’s almost impossible to avoid being typecast by it. One of the biggest misconceptions about Tracey Emin is that her work is all about sex.  In fact, as Emin’s first major London exhibition shows, it’s about far more than her sex life. It’s about intimacy. It’s about love.  This is a love that takes no account of gender, race, or even – as we discovered via a video starring a bullmastiff – species. It appears many things go on in a bed besides sex.

Tracey Emin seems to take a lot of flak in this country.
Maybe the kind of poignant statements her work is littered with are a bit too close to the bone:

“You stop me from feeling anything”
“I do not expect to be a mother but I do expect to die alone”
“Every time I feel love I think Christ I’m going to be crucified”
“I whisper to my past, do I have another choice”

But for all the vapidity she’s accused of, this is strong stuff.

Tracey Emin: Love is what you Want spans the artist’s entire career to date, and includes many specially commissioned and previously unseen works.  This show opens the eyes to the vast expanse of Emin’s oeuvre.  She’s prolific – working successfully in many media.  Add to that she’s feisty, controversial and fun. We don’t care if some love to hate you Tracey. We love to love you.

Tracey Emin : Love is what you Want is at the Hayward Gallery until August 29.

Images by David Levene. Words  by Beverley Knowles

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