Tracey Emin RA (b. 1963)
RA Collection: Art
Trying to Find You I, a small painting in acrylic of a woman on all fours rendered in red outline over a white and grey-green background, was first exhibited in the exhibition 'You Left Me Breathing' at Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles in 2007. It was shown there alongside Trying to Find You II, a painting of the same size also made in 2007, and the patinated bronze sculpture Trying to Find You.
The following year the two paintings were shown together in 'Tracey Emin: 20 Years' at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, her first retrospective exhibition in the UK, as examples of her most recent work.
At the Royal Academy, the painting was exhibited in ‘No New Thing Under the Sun’ in 2010, an exhibition responding to the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes and its themes of time, transience and human vanity. The curator of the exhibition, Gabriel Coxhead, drew attention to the ‘ambiguous, suggestively posed figure—a mixture of the libidinous with the reverent, the desperate with the tranquil’ which ‘offers a bleakly honest take on the idea of a search for personal fulfilment’.
In common with much of Emin’s work, it concerns the female body, sex, and intimacy, the prevailing themes of the Gagosian Gallery exhibition. However, as Coxhead noted when presenting the work in an exhibition themed around a book from the Bible, it can equally be seen in spiritual terms, as a prayer and a quest for faith.
210 mm x 298 mm x 26 mm