The largest number of countries in the Venice Biennale’s history were officially represented in 2007 - a total of 106. At the British Pavilion, Tracey Emin was invited to be the second British female artist to present a solo exhibition, following fellow in the footsteps of Rachel Whiteread in 1997.
Emin takes inspiration from her own life with an astonishing urgency. Many of her works explore how it feels to be taken over by all sorts of feelings, whether they are exhilarating, frightening, embarrassing, confusing, disabling or empowering.
Emin was thrilled to exhibit at the British Pavilion and 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.”
Emin’s exhibition at the Pavilion, entitled Borrowed Light, showed her uniquely intimate form of emotional realism. This show also highlighted the broad variety of media that she works in, from embroidery and drawing to painting and neon.
“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,” said Andrea Rose, Commissioner for the Pavilion and Director Visual Arts at the British Council.