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Tracey Emin

British  •  b. 1963

Biography

Tracey Emin is a prominent member of the Young British Artists (YBAs), who rose to critical and commercial success in the London art scene of the 1980s and 1990s. Emin is known for the personal, confessional nature of her work, which explores various mediums such as drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, neon text and found objects. Similar to fellow YBA artist Damien Hirst, Emin’s early work was championed by dealer Charles Saatchi, who exhibited Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995 in 1997; the piece was comprised of names appliqued onto a small tent. Two years later, Emin was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. Her exhibition My Bed at the Tate Gallery became one of her best-known works, cementing her raw, confrontational style and catapulting her to international fame.

Born in Croydon, England, Emin currently divides her time between Spitalfields, East London and the south of France. As her career has progressed, she has become increasingly known for creating neon sculptures and editions, which pair neon glass light with her distinctive handwriting.

Insights

  • Emin first began working with neon gas light as a medium in the early 1990s.

  • In 2007, Emin became the second female artist (after Rachel Whiteread) to represent the United Kingdom with a solo show at the Venice Biennale.

  • In 2013, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her contributions to the arts.

  • Her work can be found in prominent museum collections such as the Tate, London and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

“What is truth? Truth doesn't really exist. Who is going to judge whether my experience of an incident is more valid than yours? No one can be trusted to be the judge of that.”

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