On this day, English contemporary artist, Tracey Emin, was born (3rd July 1963) in London. Her work draws from personal experience and makes use of various mediums ranging from painting, drawing, video, and installation, to photography, needlework, and sculpture. They are often deemed as incorporating sexual and feminist themes, and analysed in relation to the unreported rape she suffered as a teenager. But they are also inspired by the works of precedents such as Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. In particular, her paintings, monochromes, and prints explore inner states of mind.
She studied Printing at the Maidstone Art College, and stated that it was the most influential time in her life during an interview for the Minky Maky show catalogue. She then pursued a Master’s degree at the Royal College of Art in London. After graduation she had two abortions, a traumatic experience that led her to destroy all the work she has made, except for one work entitled ‘Friendship’ which can be found in the Royal College of Art Collection. Photographs also survive and have been showcased as part of the My Major Retrospective at White Cube, a contemporary art gallery in London. It also featured photographs of her destroyed works
Early events including exhibitions and associations with fellow artists allowed her to gain some attention. But it was in 2007 that she started to gain public recognition when she represented Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale. By this point in time she was only the second female artist selected since the inception of the fair. Not long after, she was made appointed as a Royal Academician and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Art. She also owns a Doctor of Letters from the University of Kent and a Doctor of Philosophy from the London Metropolitan University. In 2011, she became a professor of drawing at the Royal Academy. A year later, Queen Elizabeth II appointed her Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her contributions to the visual arts.
She has a vast portfolio of work that has travelled all around the globe for group and solo shows. For instance her first retrospective entitled 20 Years toured from the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, to the CAC in Málaga, Spain, before finally settling at the Kunstmuseum in Bern, Switzerland. This included rarely seen early works, which have now gained momentum, including the installations ‘My Bed’ and ‘Exorcism of the Last Painting I Ever Made’. The former consists of her own unmade bed, in which she had spent weeks drinking, smoking, eating, sleeping, and having sexual intercourse. It represents an intense period during her life.
Most of her other works can also be found at major arts institutions and collections, including, but not limited to, the Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo; Camden Arts Centre, London; Hara Museum, Tokyo; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum van Loon, Amsterdam; National Portrait Gallery, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Saatchi Collection, London; Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis; and Tate Britain, London.