Tracey Emin | Borrowed Light
LII (52) Art
2007 Tracey Emin Borrowed Light exhibition, Photograph by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd
© British Council Archives
Under the artistic directorship of the American curator, Robert Storr, the overall theme of this year’s Biennale is: ‘Think with the senses; Feel with the Mind; Art in the Present Tense.’ In addition to the many off-site exhibitions, 106 countries will be officially represented this year, the largest number in the history of the event.
Born in London in 1963 to an English mother and Turkish-Cypriot father, Emin’s new exhibition at the British Pavilion is entitled Borrowed Light and includes work specially made for the Biennale. She is the second solo British female artist to exhibit at the British Pavilion, following Rachel Whiteread in 1997.
Commenting on the exhibition, Emin said: ‘The chance to exhibit at the Venice Biennale is a great honour and has helped me to redefine what my work really means to me. Borrowed Light is my most feminine body of work so far, very sensual but at the same time it is graphically sharp. It is both pretty and hardcore. For me, as an artist, what's important is to cover everything from the emotional to the literal, and sometimes that means I give myself a very hard time.’
Using a variety of media including embroidery, drawing, painting and neon, Emin’s uniquely intimate form of emotional realism shines through in Borrowed Light. From smudgy monoprints to lightly painted oils and watercolours, Emin interprets moments in her life with an astonishing urgency, much of it describing how it feels to be a body taken over by feeling; exhilarating, frightening, embarrassing, confusing, disabling and empowering.
The Commissioner for the British Pavilion, Andrea Rose, said:
`The exhibition has a delicacy and lightness of touch that belie Emin’s ability to reach just below the level of tastefulness. Like all the best art, it looks spontaneous, yet Emin is past mistress at drawing on forms and expressions normally thought beyond the pale - the cute, the sentimental – so that she can prick pretension and close the gap more narrowly between her feelings and ours.’
Shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1999 for her installation - My Bed - Emin has exhibited internationally including group exhibitions in Chile, Japan and America. She has also had solo shows at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Haus der Kunst in Munich, Modern Art Oxford (2002), Art Gallery of News South Wales in Australia (2003) and Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Centre in Istanbul, Turkey (2004). Her most recent exhibition - When I Think About Sex - was received to wide acclaim at White Cube in London, 2005.
In March 2007, Tracey Emin was elected to the Royal Academy of the Arts as a Royal Academician. She lives and works in East London and is represented by Jay Jopling at White Cube, London. A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition Borrowed Light.
Commissioner of the British Pavilion: Andrea Rose (British Council).
Other British exhibitors
Wales - And So It Goes
Heather & Ivan Morrison
Northern Ireland - Ghost Story
Click on the icon to explore the work of the artists in the British Council Collection Website.