Tracey Emin - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    White Cube, London

  • Exhibited

    London, White Cube, When I Think about Sex …, May 27 – June 25, 2005

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot, When I Think About Sex …, exemplifies British artistTracey Emin’s intense desire to express her thoughts, ideals and life experiences through her art. Emin, one of the most groundbreaking and prolific artists to rise to fame as part of the conceptualYoung BritishArtists group, intertwines life and art so tightly that they cannot be separated and un-ironically invites the viewer into her thoughtful and brash world of love, pain, sex, and confession resulting in an audaciously honest display of her life as public spectacle.
    Emin’s neon, fabricated in the style of her own handwriting, is simultaneously seedy yet bright and appealing.The work alludes to the artist’s sex-fueled teenage years in the seaside English town of Margate. Emin, who worked in Margate’s fairground café and later on, in a sex shop there has commented that “I like neon, because it’s moving constantly and like drawing.The chemicals going through the neon really turns me on. It’s sexy.” (R. Pierce, “A conversation withTracey Emin” in Sculpture, November 2002, p. 40).This particular work, constructed in a white-hot fluorescent color, draws its viewers even more deeply into Emin’s sexual world. It is noted that “White is perfect for Emin. Perhaps the most paradoxical of colors, it is best associated in theWest with brides and purity, yet it is also the color of sexual fluids, blank canvases, cocaine, fluorescent office lighting, cigarette paper, and hospital sheets—and in many Eastern cultures, it is the color of mourning. Its versatility is especially well-suited to Emin’s art, which is equally paradoxical—vulgar and vulnerable, mercenary and honest, brash and generous.” (A. F. Honigman, “Pure Traceyland,” Whitewall Magazine, Issue 3, pp. 72-79.)

  • Artist Biography

    Tracey Emin

    British • 1963

    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.

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When I Think about Sex …

8 ¼ x 97 in. (21 x 246.4 cm).
This work is from an edition of three.

$50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for $56,250

Contemporary Art Part I

14 May 2009, 7pm
New York