Louise Bourgeois and Tracey Emin - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, June 7, 2023 | Phillips
  • “Working with her was like holding hands with history. I thought of it like holding a baton; Louise passes it to me, and then I pass it to someone else.”
    —Tracey Emin on Louise Bourgeois

    Engaging with the fundamental themes of identity, sexuality, loss and grief, Do Not Abandon Me is a remarkable collaborative work by the multidisciplinary artists Louise Bourgeois and Tracy Emin. Comprised of sixteen evocative prints on fabric, the present work attests to the artists’ mutual interest in the female nude as a bearer of personal experience and emotional turmoil, while simultaneously exemplifying the mastery of their artistic techniques.

    “My work is not about memories, but rather about problems and difficulties in the present. My work is my psychoanalysis and like psychoanalysis, you must go back and find the source of these feelings, good and bad, in order to understand how they are operating today and affecting the way you feel and live.”
    —Louise Bourgeois

    Tracey Emin and Louise Bourgeois - Do Not Abandon Me. Image: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo, Artwork: Tracey Emin. All rights reserved, DACS 2023 and © The Easton Foundation/DACS, London and VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 

    “We both work with recurring themes as well. Things that come again and again into our life, that don’t go away.”
    —Tracey Emin

    Executed between 2009 and 2010, Do Not Abandon Me originated with Bourgeois, who initially painted male and female torsos on paper, combining blue, red and black gouache pigments with water to create delicate and fluid forms. Bourgeois worked with Dyenamix studio in New York to digitally print her creations onto fabric, before sending the works to Emin in London, who later confessed: “I carried the images around the world with me from Australia to France, but I was too scared to touch them”. Overcoming her initial nerves, Emin added drawings of foetuses and miniature female bodies to Bourgeois’ gouaches using a transfer technique. Engaging with the existing torsos in diverse ways, Emin’s interventions enact the body’s anxieties and desires. In many of the prints, Emin’s trademark mirror handwriting presents a narrative to Bourgeois’ enigmatic compositions, putting into words the emotions felt by the subjects. Once completed, Emin returned the works to New York, where Dyenamix produced the final edition of 18 sets.

    “For a lot of artists, words don’t have any meaning whatsoever… But for me words are important. Even with a drawing, the title’s really important.”
    —Tracey Emin

    Fuelled by an introspective reality and rooted in revisitations of personal experiences and traumas, Do Not Abandon Me showcases Bourgeois' and Emin’s unflinching and often raw examination of female pain. “Art,” as Bourgeois once noted, “is the experience, the re-experience of a trauma.” Through the union of Bourgeois' and Emin’s cross-generational, confessional, and audaciously autobiographical styles, the present work is a striking example of the artists’ wide-ranging body of work, confirming their rank as two of the most influential artists of their respective generations.









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    • Literature

      Museum of Modern Art 152

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including A million ways to cum; Reaching for you; Deep inside my heart; Too much love; I lost you; I wanted to love you more; And so I kissed you; I just died at birth; A sparrow's heart; It doesn't end; Looking for the mother; Come unto me; Just hanging; When my cunt stopped living; I held your sperm and cried; and Waiting for you.


Do Not Abandon Me (MoMA 152)

The complete set of 16 archival dyes printed on cloth.
all approx. 76.2 x 61 cm (30 x 24 in.), 6 horizontal
All signed by Tracey Emin in pencil, embroidered 'LB' in red thread, and numbered 3/18 (printed) on labels affixed to the reverse of the frames (there were also 6 artist proof sets), published by Carolina Nitsch Editions, New York, all framed.

Full Cataloguing

£60,000 - 80,000 ‡♠

Sold for £107,950

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 7 - 8 June 2023