Tracey Emin: Love is What You Want
18 May â€“ 29 August 2011
Love is what you want represents the first major London survey of the work of Tracey Emin, Britain's favourite bad girl of art. Spanning her entire career, the exhibition combines early, seldom-seen pieces with major installations, and features a new series of outdoor sculptures created especially for the Hayward.Occupying both floors of the gallery as well as the two outside display spaces, this exhibition will provide a rare opportunity to see the range of Emin's work, and to explore her development through photography, sculpture, textiles, drawing and video.Notorious for the confrontational sexuality of her work, Emin's 'personal political' feminist agenda is only part of the story. Although confession is a recurring theme of the show, this takes various forms, from works that are whimsical or witty to those exploring spirituality or cultural identity and those designed to shock.
Emin's Menphis, an exhibition originally staged in 2003, is recreated here in its entirety. The deliberately misspelt title refers to the capital of ancient Egypt, a playful hint at the personal archaeology involved in the piece. Sheets of Emin's own handwriting cover the walls, and if you read carefully, memories and personal stories emerge, sweetly sad accounts of family relationships and encounters. Each is paired with a selection of small objects, offered up almost as evidence or physical testimony to the veracity of her bizarre tales.An appliquÃ©d blanket of colourful felt, Psyco Slut is one of a series of similar works created throughout Emin's career. Bright and naÃ¯ve, it fulfils a familiar confessional role, investing its patchwork of child-like squares with insecurities and angst of a profoundly adult nature.Related storiesShort, revealing YouTube interview with Tracey Emin.Scenes from documentary Mad Tracey from Margate.Jonathan Jones looks back over Emin's career for The Guardian and asks how substantial it really is.Tracey Emin's official website.Detailed blogpost exploring the significance of Tracey Emin to contemporary art.