Born 1963. UK
One of very few artists in the UK who has become a household name, Tracey Emin is as well known as a media personality as she is as an artist. Brought up in the South Coast town of Margate, Tracey Emin’s impetus as an artist stems from her early years when she was struggling to establish an identity for herself in a disfunctional community in which her adolescent body was exploited and commodified. Subsequently Tracey Emin’s art has been an account of this struggle and the painful, and extreme aspects of it that she has had to endure.
‘Tracey Emin exposes herself, her hopes, humiliations, failures and successes in an incredibly direct manner. Often tragic and frequently humorous, it is as if by telling her story and weaving it into the fiction of her art she somehow transforms it.’ Saatchi Gallery
In many respects Tracey Emin is an old fashioned expressionist. No wonder she has expressed her admiration for the artist Edvard Munch and recreated his work The Scream in her own way. Tracey Emin is an ethical artist whose work is based upon a moral but highly personal world view. She employs whatever medium seems best suited to express the particular point she wants to make at a given time. It is arguable that drawing is the keystone to her practice that embraces painting, installation, performance, appliqué and, since the mid 1990s, neon. As well as an acclaimed if controversial artist, Tracey Emin is an accomplished writer and her neon works transpose the visual potency of her expressive hand writing into illuminated wall based texts, succinctly expressing some of the basic feelings she has within human relationships.
Tracey Emin was one of the most prominent YBAs (Young British Artists) a group of artists that included Damien Hirst and changed the face of contemporary art in Britain. In 1999, she was a Turner Prize nominee. In 2007, Tracey Emin was elected to join the Royal Academy of Arts in London as a Royal Academician. She represented Britain at the 2007 Venice Biennale.