Tracey Emin‘s exhibition of new paintings, embroideries, drawings and bronzes opens at Galleria Lorcan O’Neill in Rome and continues until 26 September. Concurrently, Emin’s iconic work ‘My Bed’ from 1998 is on view at Tate Britain alongside works by Francis Bacon; and an exhibition of her work and that of Egon Schiele is at the Leopold Museum in Vienna until 14 September.
Emin was recently called ‘the most important British Artist of her generation’ by The Guardian newspaper. Her art is one of disclosure, using her life events as inspiration for works ranging from painting, drawing, video and installation, to photography, needlework and sculpture. Emin reveals her hopes, humiliations, failures and successes in candid and, at times, excoriating work that is frequently both tragic and humorous.
Her work has an immediacy, and often sexually provocative attitude that firmly locates her oeuvre within the tradition of feminist discourse. By re-appropriating conventional handicraft techniques like embroidery – or ‘women’s work’ – for radical intentions, Emin’s work resonates with the feminist tenets of the ‘personal as political’.
The paintings in this exhibition, of a couple making love, appear direct and immediate, but they are the result of application, obliteration and layering that sometimes takes years. Emin’s particular interest in the work of Edvard Munch and Egon Schiele informs her paintings, monoprints and drawings, which explore complex personal states and ideas of self-representation. Her self-portrait drawings in gouache are defined with a fluid, expressive line creating a figure that is at once heroic and vulnerable, the more so when it rendered on a large scale in her embroideries.