TRACEY EMIN was born in London in 1963, and studied at Maidstone College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. Known for her confessional art, the artist often reveals the intimate details of her life to engage the viewer with expressions of universal emotions. Emin's integration of her work and personal life enables her to establish an intimacy with the viewer.
The artist has used neon since the early 1990s, combining simple and intimate handwritten text with a medium that traditionally serves more commercial purposes. Text-based neon signs have been current in modern art since the 1960s—however, while other artists used moulded letters and text in capitals, Emin's works are always made using her signature hand script, emphasizing the personal nature of their commentary.
Pastel coloured light tubes, bent to mimic the artist's handwriting, spell out illuminated thoughts and feelings: passions, love declarations, disappointments and fears, or simply insults. And the subject is always Emin herself: we read her disappointments, her desires, her experiences, her infatuation and her anger - her neon works are her written confession.
By placing her own life at the centre of her art, Emin is not only someone whose work can be uncannily touching, but also casts her as a cultural phenomenon of contemporary society, where voyeurism and self-invention play an essential part. The artist currently lives and works in London.
"Tracey Emin’s art is one of disclosure, using her life events as inspiration for works ranging from painting, drawing, video and installation, to photography, needlework and sculpture. Emin reveals her hopes, humiliations, failures and successes in candid and, at times, excoriating work that is frequently both tragic and humorous."
Above, a neon wall sculpture by Tracey Emin, installed above a photograph by Darren Almond; a glass box filled with gold leaf sits on the coffee table, from David Gill Galleries.