Celebrating Contemporary: Tracey Emin's For You

  • 9 September 2011

Our Celebrating Contemporary season examines For You, a neon sign by Young British Artist Tracey Emin.

Tracey Emin, For You, 2008 © Tracey Emin. All rights reserved, DACS 2011

Tracey Emin, For You, 2008

Our Celebrating Contemporary season examines For You, a neon sign by Young British Artist Tracey Emin.

The work

Emin's hand-blown neon sign, a heart containing the phrase 'I felt you and I knew you loved me", explores themes of love and sensuality. The use of neon, a material associated with advertisement, commerce and seediness, contrasts with the implied intimacy of the work.

The warm pink of the heart is offset by the clinical blue of the writing, while the near-childlike simplicity of Emin's message complicates the sign's adult theme. For You is on display at Aberdeen Art Gallery, who purchased it with help from the Art Fund in 2009.

The artist

Launched into the public eye when her controversial piece My Bed was nominated for the 1999 Turner Prize, Tracey Emin produces art which is by turns candid, exhibitionistic and intimate. Emin's work often employs language, handling subjects with a poetic wit and humour.

Drawing from events in her own life – failed relationships, alcoholism, rape, attempted suicide – Emin works in a range of media, from painting, drawing and video to photography, needlework and sculpture. She was appointed to the Royal Academy in 2007, and in 2011 Hayward Gallery hosted a major retrospective of her work. 

Did you know?

Emin's rise to fame was so closely linked to her nomination for the 1999 Turner Prize that many people still assume she won it. In fact, the prize was awarded to artist Steve McQueen for his film and video works.

VOTE for For You by Tracey Emin