Tracey Emin, the YBA artist, best known for her Turner Prize-nominated ‘Unmade Bed’ has revealed that she has been suffering from bladder cancer. Last summer, a cancerous tumour was found after undergoing severe pain in her abdomen. She said.
Yesterday, I was crying because I wanted to paint and I didn’t have the energy to do it – TE
Emin who is fifty-seven years old was diagnosed last spring and underwent major surgery. She is said to be in remission. She stated in an interview, that she is too weak to return to making art. “Yesterday, I was crying because I wanted to paint and I didn’t have the energy to do it,” she said.
Artnet was told she had been working on a semi-abstract painting early in lockdown that had been “keeping her up at night”. Only after her diagnosis did she realise it resembled her bladder. “It’s exactly the same as my bladder with the tumour in it, before I knew I had the cancer – it’s brilliant!” she said.
In March she posted a video on Instagram in which she said she had not been in her studio because she had been unwell.
About 10,000 people are diagnosed every year and it’s the tenth most common cancer in the UK, according to the NHS. It is more common in older adults, and in men. The most common symptom is blood in urine – and while most people with blood in their urine won’t have bladder cancer, it’s important to get checked. Some people are treated by having the tumour removed and having chemotherapy or immunotherapy drugs
Some require a cystectomy – in women this involves removing the bladder, urethra, ovaries, uterus and the upper part of the vagina
An exhibition of her work is due to open in Brussels on Friday, and her recent paintings will be shown at the Royal Academy in London from 15 November alongside works she has chosen by Edvard Munch.
Tracey Emin was born in London in 1963 and studied at Maidstone College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. She has exhibited extensively internationally, including solo and group exhibitions in Holland, Germany, Japan, Australia and America. Most recently, Emin’s work has been shown in the following solo exhibitions: The Memory of Your Touch, Xavier Hufkens, Brussels (2017), Surrounded by You, Château La Coste, Aix-En-Provence, France (2017), I cried because I love you, Lehmann Maupin and White Cube, Hong Kong (2016), Angel without You, Miami MoCA, Miami (2013) and a major survey exhibition Love Is What You Want, Hayward Gallery, London (2011). She has also entered her work into a series of acclaimed dialogues with the work of past masters she admires, most notably: Tracey Emin, My Bed / JMW Turner, Turner Contemporary, Margate (2017), In Focus: Tracey Emin and William Blake, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (2016), Tracey Emin and Francis Bacon, Tate Britain, London (2015), Where I Want to Go, with Egon Schiele, The Leopold Museum, Vienna (2015). Tracey Emin represented the UK at the Venice Biennale in 2007 with the exhibition Borrowed Light and was elected to the Royal Academy in the same year. In 2011, she was appointed Professor of Drawing at The Royal College of Art, London, and in 2012 Queen Elizabeth II appointed her Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her contributions to the visual arts.
Photo: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2020