From Private to Public – Tracy Emin by Jason Collins

The rebellious nature of this infamous artist, Tracy Emin, took the world by surprise with her controversial subject matter. Emin gained her controversial reputation with her artworks that explored her sexual history and her addictions. 

With artworks such as her “My Bed” and “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995,” it can easily be seen how Emin became such a prolific figure in the feminist movement. . 

Who is Tracy Emin

Emin was born in Croydon, United Kings, on the third of July, 1963. Emin grew up in Kent with her family, which included her twin brother named Paul. Emins early life was not easy, as she was assaulted and raped at the young age of 13 years old.  

As she grew older, Emin studied fashion at the Medway College of Design from 1980 to 1982, which is now part of the larger University for the Creative Arts. She met the famous English poet Billy Childish who became a source of influence for her art pieces. 

After graduation, Emin suffered from two very traumatic abortions, which led to her destroying the artwork she made while at college. 

How Tracy Emin Gained Recognition

Emin caught the public’s eye by doing a TV program in 1997 with Channel 4 called “Is Painting Dead?” Emin was drunk during the interview and was surprised to hear that people were watching.

Emin stated in the interview, “Are they really real people in England watching this program now, they really watching, really watching it?”

In 1999, Emin exhibited her infamous “My Bed” at the Tate Gallery, where she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. This art installation got media attention because of the explicit content like bodily fluids and drugs. 

As a result of her media fame, celebrities such as Elton John, Orlando Bloom, and George Michael have bought her artworks. Many other famous names are linked to Emin as a result, and she is good friends with many of them. 

“Everyone I Have Ever Slept With”

Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995” By Tracy Emin, 1995.

The art piece that is known as “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995” literally lists all the names of all the people Emin slept with at the point of making the installation. 

The installation is a small classic blue navy tent. The inside of the tent is a yellowish-white color, with names of people on lists that are stuck to the wall. The idea behind the tent being open is that it may mean that she is opening herself up to the world and is not ashamed of herself or her actions. 

Even though it has the names of all the people Emin slept with, it also includes family names and friends. Perhaps Emin is making a point that intimacy doesn’t have to mean just sex, but that it is also an emotional or physical connection. 

Therefore, the art installation is more about intimacy rather than sex.  For Emin “Slept with” means having an intimate connection, either in a sexual manner or in an emotional manner. 

If you are interested in seeing more of Tacy Emin’s unique artwork and pieces, you can follow her Instagram page, traceyeminstudio.

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