Tracey Emin RA’s returns home to Margate from Saturday with a major exhibition
at Turner Contemporary. The Academician could never be accused of forgetting her roots – her art has constantly and candidly drawn from her experiences growing up in on the Kent coast – but this represents the first show the 48-year-old has presented in her home town.
Tracey Emin RA, 'She Lay down Deep Beneath The Sea', 2012. ® the artist. Courtesy of White Cube. Photo: Ben Westoby.
Emin has made the surprising and refreshing move of presenting a body of work that is not related closely to Margate. The exhibition explores themes of eroticism and love, and the pieces are predominantly new works, straight out of the studio. A small selection of sculptures, embroideries, tapestries and a neon text work complement a large number of recent monoprints, watercolours and gouaches that focus on the female nude.
Tracey Emin RA, Laying on Blue', 2011. ® the artist. Courtesy of White Cube. Photo: Ben Westoby
Instead of the male gaze, this is the female gaze – and one turned inwards, as the reclining naked figures can be taken, due to the autobiographical nature of Emin’s work, as representations of the artist, or the artist’s ideas and memories of herself. Many of them are marked out in marine-blue paint with a minimum of gestures; executed with verve, they evoke emotional as well as physical flux.
Tracey Emin RA, 'I Didnt Say', 2011. Gouache on paper. ® the artist. Courtesy of White Cube. Photo: Ben Westoby.
A male presence is alluded to by a series that feature snippets of dialogue or thoughts alongside the nude: one says ‘Relax’, others ‘I am telling you it hurt’, ‘The confusion is I love you’, ‘I didn’t say I couldn’t love you’. Loans of works on paper by J.M.W. Turner
and Auguste Rodin, from the Tate and Musée Rodin respectively, provide a counterpoint, showing recumbent naked women from a male point of view, to Emin’s urgent and emotionally charged nudes.
- 'She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea: Tracey Emin' at Turner Contemporary,
26 May 2012 - 23 September 2012