I had always sat uncomfortably on the fence on the subject of appreciation of controversial artist Tracey Emin's work until I went to her exhibition 'Love is What You Want' at the Hayward Gallery in London recently. Knowing a little about her controversial status in the contemporary art world I went with an open mind and ready to consider the ever looming question 'what is art anyway' and 'are you taking the piss'? Not surprisingly, the answer to those questions when faced with an exhibit of a used tampon was the latter and the constant references to her abortion experiences left me feeling awkward and emotionally drained.
Sure her previous work 'My Bed' (link here) could be considered abit 'lazy' and her tent piece 'Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995' (link here) was a little unnecessarily informative but what I didn't realise about Tracey Emin is her uncanny knack with a needle. Check out the amazing quilts she has produced, they blew me away and not something I had expected to see at all.
She had patchworked, appliqued and embroidered snippets of her life in proper memory quilt style using old clothes, swatches and keep sakes. I can just imagine her sat in a little stitch n bitch sewing group stitching away on these........NOT!
One thing you can say about her work is that it's truly personal. She is outspoken. She challenges personal thoughts and makes statements that others might not be so brave to make. And whilst her mono prints were a little too dark for me, I could appreciate their rawness. They really make you feel like she's scratched out her heart and soul on the paper. Hmm serious shit really! And I guess that's what art is, expressionism. This is where it starts getting abit deep so I'll leave you with your own thoughts on this.
So do I like Tracey Emins work? Yeh, I love the quilts. And anything controversial is good for the mind. And yes I appreciate her abilities as a mixed media artist. I also love the way her work is so personal and tells her story, just probably not one to share with the kids though.
I chose not to put up pictures of her more controversial work, but if you're interested, Mr Google is always more than willing to oblige.