LONDON (Reuters) – British artist Tracey Emin is unleashing an “emotional timebomb” at her latest exhibition, homing in on what is important to her as she faces what she calls the third stage of her life.
Best known to many for the then sensational creation “My Bed” some 20 years ago – a bed surrounded by and covered with discarded condoms, stained sheets, empty bottles of alcohol – Emin’s new show “A Fortnight of Tears” includes paintings, sculptures, neon and photography.
“I have had the title for about 15 years but I have never used it. A couple of years ago, my mum died, and I have cried so much in all my life and I thought this is the time to use this title,” she told Reuters television.
“Essentially the show is about big emotional moments in my life, good or bad, hell or happy, this kind of combination of this big emotional churning, reworking, awakening, a big emotional timebomb that has been let off in the gallery.”
But she rejected the suggestion that works for this exhibition – touching on insomnia, sexual relationships and abortion as she has done throughout her career – have been produced as a response to the growth of the Metoo movement about sexual harassment.
“I have always done this, I have always been an advocate of women being able to tell how it feels. If you have been raped you scream your head off and you will be heard,” she said.
“That is what I have been talking about for the last 35 years when I have been making my work. I am really grateful to the Metoo and Times Up movement because women who never had a voice are coming forward and talking, but I have always been an advocate of it and I have always been talking about it.”
And, aged 55, she is adamant that she will continue working and speaking out in what she terms the “third stage” of her life. “I have got another 30 or so years left working, maybe 20 physically working really hard, so I’ve got to make the most of it, I can’t mess around anymore,” she said.
“When you get to my age you only have the rest of your life to get it right, you haven’t got all your life. I’m homing in on what’s really important to me now.”
The exhibition at London’s White Cube gallery opens on Wednesday and runs until April 7.
Writing by Alison Williams; Editing by Andrew Heavens