Tracey Emin - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, October 2, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Video

    Tracey Emin, 'Nature 1', Lot 40

    20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, 2 October 2019

  • Provenance

    Lehmann Maupin, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    A rare circular iteration of Tracey Emin’s body of appliqué works, Nature 1, 2001, exemplifies the artist’s markedly personal creative lexicon, deployed throughout her career in drawing, painting, sculpture, film, photography and neon. Initially conceived as a large tablecloth, Nature 1 produces a haptic effect of warmth and intimacy, strengthened by the fabric’s tactile possibilities. Circling around notions of domesticity, the work furthermore employs a linguistic expression that is both brash and erotic, tinged with irrepressible honesty. Reading like the verse of a poem, the words ‘This is nature – to come like Niagara an ever lasting flow – to lay there saturated in my own welth happy’ are redolent of the warm vernacular tendencies deployed in one’s diary, occasionally misspelt as if to emphasise the unfiltered nature of one’s expression.

    Situated at a crossroads between fine art and objecthood, Nature 1 quotes a lineage of feminist artists who approached the medium of embroidery transformatively, as a means to dovetail the reductive, macho associations typically collated to craftwork. Like a number of women before her, Emin here uses a language that is assumed to be hers only by virtue of her gender, and fills it with unapologetic individuality. ‘We have to acknowledge that [Emin’s] sexuality is hers to offer, not ours to take’, writes Sarah Kent (Sarah Kent, quoted in Jessica Hemmings, 'Tracey Emin: Stitching Up the Extreme’, Craft Arts International, no. 56, December 2002, online). Challenging the social and historical folds that tie conventional handicraft techniques to sexist thoughts and preconceptions, Emin’s textiles elucidate a new truth – her own – through imperfect surfaces, uncensored colour and rudimentary language.

Property from a Private European Collection


Nature 1

signed and dated 'Nature I Tracey Emin 2001' on an accompanying sketch
appliqué, embroidery and monoprint on calico tablecloth
diameter 192 cm (75 5/8 in.)
overall 199.2 x 199.2 cm (78 3/8 x 78 3/8 in.)

Executed in 2001.

£70,000 - 100,000 

Contact Specialist

Olivia Thornton
Senior Director
Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Europe
+44 20 7318 4099


Rosanna Widén
Director, Senior Specialist
+44 20 7318 4060

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 2 October 2019