Swear words spelt out in neon, used tampons behind a glass frame, an indecent proposal from a dog…we’d expect nothing less from Tracey Emin. She’s the queen of Britart’s most notorious works – and while Everyone I Have Ever Slept With and My Bed are absent here, this major survey of Emin’s work shows instead the impressive variety of her technique since the 1990s.
Using text, paint, video, neon, monoprint line drawing, sculpture, textiles and memorabilia, Emin draws on personal and often harrowing experiences from her own life to explore female sexuality, family and friendship. In the video How it Feels, she recounts a botched abortion in brutally candid detail, while Trying on Clothes From My Friends is a series of photos of the artist larking about in various states of undress.
Somehow Emin’s work achieves something rare – to be both uncomfortable and accessible – as her gritty subject matter and bouts of narcissism are offset by an undercurrent of warmth and wit. Well worth a visit. (Words: Rachel Segal Hamilton)
Love is What You Want runs until 29 August at the Hayward Gallery. Click here for more info.