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The Last Great Adventure is You

  • White Cube Gallery
September 23, 2014
Ana Bambic Kostov is an art historian with passion for contemporary art.

One of the leading conceptual artists today and a definite superstar of the art market, especially since her piece My Bed has been sold for a hefty sum recently, Tracey Emin has grown into a figure of dispersed influence in the world of art. Emerging from the semi-obscure world of inner pain and trauma, Emin’s torturous luminescence has been increasingly igniting spirits of the art world, especially in the current century. Her recent exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami during the last year’s Art Basel week, as well as her projects such as I promise to Love You, unveil her versatility as an artist, whereas her work delves in multiple media, from neon, to painting and sculpture. Tracey Emin, the excruciatingly provocative intimist, is having a solo exhibition next month at the White Cube Gallery in London.

White Cube Gallery
Tracey Emin – So Pretty, 2014 – Acrylic on canvas – © Tracey Emin. All rights reserved, DACS 2014

Alone is the Constant

Spinning off the same idea once laid open by Joseph Conrad in The Heart of Darkness, that ‘We live as we dream – alone’, Tracey Emin created a diverse body of work expressing the idea in sculpture, gouache, painting, her signature embroidery and neon. The pieces suggest the ethereal narrative about ‘rites of passage, of time and age’, while implying reflections of self in perceptions of others, often those deceptively close to ourselves. The Last Great Adventure is You alludes to the same concept, where the exploration of self lies at core of the series, as Emin conjures works implicitly talking of others. The glory of her message is found in the simplicity with which she communicates with the audience, while complete honesty has always been the distinct characteristic of her voice.

White Cube Gallery
Tracey Emin – Up straight, 2014 – Gouache on paper – © Tracey Emin. All rights reserved, DACS 2014

New Sculptural Endeavors

Tiers of contemplation and artistic development support the recent production of bronze sculptures that are to be exhibited at White Cube, the ‘most significant body she has made to date’. These tactile works are complex interpretations of the introspective path of the artist, while the coarse elements retain the rugged feel emulating hurtful side of her experience. Although the basic thread is elaborated in the recent work, Emin’s long artistic practice is interwoven with the novel accents, providing these sculptures with strong conceptual foundation mirrored in rendering of the material, and the composition of the selected thematics. Ornate nature of the Grotto creates a simulation of a sanctuary for a figure, which is naturally interpreted as Emin’s alter ego, while the winding line-work of Bird exemplifies a balanced piece. Bronze sculptures are complemented with a series of bronze plaques executed in bas relief, depicting fluid figures that change in the dance of light and shadow.

White Cube Gallery
Tracey Emin – Good Body, 2014 – Acrylic on canvas – © Tracey Emin. All rights reserved, DACS 2014

Pure Painting of Tracey Emin

Paintings to be exhibited at The Last Great Adventure is You are purified representations of the key emotive substance Emin has been delivering throughout her career. They represent final outcome, distilled essence of all of the agonies reappearing in the artist’s art for years. As if she’d come to terms with certain issues, Emin candidly reviews, edits and rethinks herself by replaying the crucial episodes in a much clearer, cut-to-the-chase manner. These paintings are small windows into the emotional past, out of which the artist draws most of her creative power.

White Cube Gallery
Tracey Emin – Good Red Love, 2014, Acrylic on canvas – © Tracey Emin. All rights reserved, DACS 2014

The Last Great Adventure is Yourself

White Cube Gallery will be installing The Last Great Adventure is You at its South Galleries and 9x9x9 at Bermondsey, opening the exhibition on October 8. The show will run through November 16, 2014, introducing recent artistic research of one of the most famous contemporary artists today, whose popularity even inspired Pharrell to include her into his high-profile pop-artsy Girl exhibition last May.

Exhibition artwork pictures courtesy of White Cube.  Photo: Ben Westoby

Christie's Auction
Tracey Emin and Her Bed

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