22 June—22 September 2010
In the Sir Hugh Casson Room for Friends of the Royal Academy
Open to the public daily 4–6pm, Fridays until 10pm. Admission free
I’ve always had a love of printmaking because of the magic and alchemy of it all. You never really know how it’s going to be until you turn the paper over. I think that printmaking is a very intimate practice. These works vary in subject matter but all of them retain a quality of my line.
Tracey Emin, 'Broken Heart', 2003. Soft ground etching, 46 x 51 cm, Edition of 12. © Tracey Emin, Photo: Richard Dawkins
Monoprint drawing and printmaking, and in particular etching, have been an important part of Tracey Emin’s creative output since the beginning of her life as an artist. Indeed, her works on paper form the backbone of the intimate and diaristic approach to her art. The immediacy of the line lends itself to the outpouring of dreams, memories and fantasies. Emin’s work is characterised by an honesty and directness that is often made poignant by her use of humour, using both image and text, and these qualities are especially vivid in her works on paper. Her assured and rapid line drawings are perfectly suited to her preferred mediums, the soft ground etching and the monoprint, as both techniques produce the lightly textured, broken quality of line so strongly associated with Emin.
Although Emin has returned to printmaking throughout her career, this is the first time she has presented an exhibition comprised exclusively of this medium, and features a selection of work from the past sixteen years, starting in 1994. The imagery ranges from explicit nudes to little birds and squirrels, motifs often interpreted as self-portraits. Emin continues to explore the medium with great intensity, and it is here where her imagery expresses itself in its most immediate form.
Tracey Emin was born in London in 1963, where she now lives and works. Having grown up in Margate, she studied printmaking at Maidstone College of Art, before completing an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art, London. Emin has exhibited extensively all over the world. In 2008 she held her first major retrospective at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, which subsequently toured to Malaga (2008) and Bern (2009). In 2007 Emin represented Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale, and was made a Royal Academician, having first exhibited at the Academy ten years earlier in the Sensation exhibition. She has since curated a gallery within the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition (2008).