Tracey Emin RA

Originally gaining fame from a public outburst during a Channel 4 TV discussion, Tracey Emin has become an essential member of a group of contemporary artists called the YBAs (Young British Artists). With equal notoriety to her colleague Damien Hirst, Emin’s work is recognized for its inclusion of personal details, which the general public has thought of as anecdotes from the artist’s private life. While Emin has always been inspired by expressionist painters Edvard Munch and Egon Schiele, her personal style takes a feminist approach that is quite direct in presenting her scandalous choice of subject matter while also subtle in Emin’s willingness to include an underlying personal intimacy. Viewing her work generates a universal vulnerability for both the viewer and Emin herself due to her ability to present an honest outlook on delicate moments in time. After presenting Madonna with the UK Music Hall of Fame award in 2004, and vacationing at the music icon’s country estate in Ashcombe, Madonna described Emin as “intelligent and wounded and not afraid to expose herself. She is provocative but she has something to say”. Emin developed the ability to relate to her fans through her art, which in turn popularised her work because each piece forces the viewer’s private emotional response to come out into the public.

Tracey Emin was born in London in 1963, and today she lives and works in London. Her work takes many different forms of expression, including needlework, sculpture, photography, drawing, painting, video and installation. While her work has been displayed in galleries all over the world, Emin first exhibited at the Royal Academy in our 1997 Sensation exhibition. The show featured her quite prominent work Everyone I Have Slept With 1963-1995 alongside the work of her fellow YBAs Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas. In her more recent career, Emin was invited to exhibit in the academy’s Summer Exhibition in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. In 2008 Emin was invited to select and hang the work in the Summer Exhibition’s Gallery IV. Today Emin is continuing to create autobiographical works that shock her viewers, while also comforting them. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at White Cube, São Paulo (2012), and Lehmann Maupin in New York (2013).

She was Eranda Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy Schools from 2011-13.


Royal Academician


Born: 1963 in London, England, United Kingdom

Nationality: British

Elected RA: 27 March 2007

Honorary officer: Eranda Professor of Drawing 2011 - 2014

Gender: Female

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Works by Tracey Emin in the RA Collection

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