A major solo exhibition by Tracey Emin presents a comprehensive display of neons, films, sculptures, drawings and photographs by the artist. A Fortnight of Tears is on show at the White Cube in Bermondsey, London from 6 February to 7 April.
Emin is known and acclaimed for the unwavering intimacy of her work. Early in her career, Emin was compelled to make work about her own life; she has since built up a body of work that powerfully expresses the relationship between life events, emotions, identity and survival. Her work binds together flesh and blood, daily routines and ordinary object, artistic concepts and emotive issues, often dealing with pain and anger, love and loss. She is known for her figurative drawings, paintings and sculpture, and for her focus on the female body, particularly her own body, as a conduit.
Sometimes there is no reason, 2018
In A Fortnight of Tears the artist expresses the pain and sorrow she experienced following the death of her mother. Her grief is laid bare through mark-making - a series of paintings shown in the North Galleries, including I was too young to be carrying your Ashes (2017-18) Can you hear me (2017) and Bye Bye Mum (2018) conveys the pain of losing all contact with someone you are bound to by love. A film accompanying these paintings focuses on the wooden box containing her mother’s ashes; an object containing a person, made heavy by the weight of grief.
Motherhood is a recurring theme in Emin’s work, and is explored in all its complexity and power by the artist. The sexualisation of the female form, the trauma of abortion, motherly love, the strength that lies in vulnerability - all are exposed in A Fortnight of Tears. The Mother, a 2017 bronze sculpture due to be permanently installed beside the Edvard Munch Museum in 2020, kneels on the ground gazing at an absent form cradled in her palms. How it Feels, a video from early in her career shows Emin recounting her first abortion in 1990. The eroticisation of the female body, the violence that accompanies it, and the proximity of sex and death are expressed through sculptures of the female form and through gestural, visceral drawings and paintings, often incorporating a palette of pink, dark red and black.
A Fortnight of Tears is at White Cube, 144 - 152 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TQ until 7 April 2019.