Published  10/05/2001

Tracey Emin: rising star

At last Tracey Emin is being recognised as the long-term, serious and committed artist that she undoubtedly has been, with a tried-and-tested Camusian philosophy born of hard experience and free of middle-class posturing. So, she entraps voyeurs, masochists, egocentrists, bureaucrats, and even architects with her specious pragmatism. Viewing Stirling Prize-winning building the Peckham Library, in south London (by Will Alsop), she rapidly spotted the drawbacks the showcase building offered to the layman (and this is not about replacing lightbulbs). Her perception should grace as many arts committees and juries as she is prepared to take on, quite apart from the TV rave ‘Have I Got News For You’; such rapier thrust has been sadly lacking in the corridors of power. Emin’s work is charged with her own experience of exploitation by those in stronger positions, and the survival of the outrageous villains of contemporary life.

In this first exhibition for four years, the predominant works emerge as three-dimensional again; a wooden painted helter skelter, and a Concorde model (entitled ‘Upgrade’), made of papier mache. These works again represent the autobiographical, and Emin’s self-referential mode is substantiated further.

(See forthcoming review here of her exhibition ‘You Forgot to Kiss My Soul’, 27 April–26 May at White Cube 2, N1)

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