Tracey Emin - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Lehmann Maupin, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    The art work of Tracey Emin is profoundly personal. It attempts the rejection of mass culture and outward forms of pretension, particularly those associated with high art. Her work comes from the gut, unedited yet perfectly balanced on the razor edge of vulnerability and aggression.The beauty of Emin's force is her marvellous command of personal histories and willingness to present a reality that is not only uncomfortable but also potentially unflattering.
    "Emin Exerts tremendous ordering pressure on her objects – she forces change out of them through the order, including the disorder, of her intent.This frees up our looking space. By making our ‘here', ‘another place', she can successfully combine the banality and actuality of ordinary life with its imaginative possibilities." (J. Winterson, Tracey Emin Works 1963 – 2006, NewYork, 2006, p. 7)
    The result of Emin's raw visual language is such that her work remains pure and honest regardless of material content or formatting, her work is unquestionably hers, non-derivative and unpolished.The present lot, ButYea, belongs to a series of neon drawings which, although perfectly executed, present the viewer with the crude visual stimulus that has become such a pivotal part of Emin's repertoire.The language is dangerously complacent and unburdened by any sense of responsibility, it trails off and leaves you with nothing. At surface it seems clumsy, rushed even, but it is exactly this that makes But Yea so faultless. The idea of the tarnished surface works as the perfect tool to articulate Emin's general unease in the ‘art world'.

  • 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.

    View More Works


But Yea

Blue neon.
96.5 x 81.3 cm. (38 x 32 in).
This work is from an edition of three plus two artist's proofs.

£25,000 - 35,000 Ω ♠

Sold for £22,500

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

12 Feb 2009, 7pm