Tracey Emin’s first exhibition in her home town of Margate opens at the Turner Contemporary on 26 May. Titled; ‘She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea’. The show was conceived specially for Margate, where Emin grew up and which has provided inspiration for many of her most iconic art works. The exhibition will explore the themes of love, sex and romanticism in Emin’s oeuvre. It will feature new works, including drawings, monoprints, sculptures, tapestries, embroideries and neons and will be installed throughout the Turner Contemporary’s suite of first-floor galleries.
The exhibition’s central themes are continued in a group of sketches and paintings of erotic subjects by Tracey Emin, JMW Turner and Auguste Rodin, whose iconic sculpture The Kiss is on show in the Sunley Gallery at Turner Contemporary. This section of the exhibition considers the artists in terms of their shared fascination with female sexuality and the varying means by which they explore the subject. The gift shop will also be offering a full range of Emin prints, post cards and tea mugs.
Emin said: ‘I still can’t really believe that I’m showing in Margate. Even in my wildest dreams I could never believe there would be a gallery like Turner Contemporary there. So on one level I’m really chuffed and excited but on another I am as nervous as hell. The brilliant thing about Margate is it’s one hour from London on the train so I’m hoping lots of people will come and visit not just my show but the beautiful sunsets and sandy beaches.’
Emin was also recently commissioned by the FT to draw a portrait of the Queen to celebrate 60 years since her accession to the throne. The portrait is a slightly sexy, provocative pose as one would expect coming from Emin’s artistic sensibility. She told the publication; The confusing factor of doing this drawing was that I could have drawn the Queen from how I remembered her. But I decided to represent her as a motif or a symbol, and I think that is how the public acknowledge her. We have a queen – we don’t have a king, we don’t have a dictator – and I think that’s really important. The figurehead of our country is a woman.The Queen represents something unique in the times we are living in. I support the monarchy, and I think the younger royals are really going to change things. But I don’t think the Queen should retire: she should do exactly what she wants to do.I’m pleased that people are starting to realise the Queen actually works very hard for this country. I didn’t understand this when I was younger but now I do – with full admiration. I looked at hundreds of photographs of the Queen in my research. If I had drawn her as she is today it would have just been from my imagination, but I actually referenced drawings of the Queen to draw her. I also did a series of drawings of her as “Mother and Child”, but I decided to use this one as I thought she looked quite sexy. People forget how amazingly glamorous the queen was as a young woman, I mean that she looked like a young Hollywood starlet. I called the drawing “HRH Royal Britannia”: I wanted the image to have a romantic title and also be strong and sexy and strident, and this is what Britannia represents to me”. Emin has met the Queen on two occasions and stated;”She was extremely petite with a massive smile. Informed. With a good sense of humour. I had imagined her to be a lot more austere, but I was completely wrong. It is her smile that comes to mind when I think of her.”(quote extracted from FT)
Emin officially opened the £17 million Turner Contemporary gallery last year and has said of her new exhibition: ‘The pressure is huge’. ‘I want lots of people to go to see it because it will be good for Margate. I want them to run out of ice cream on the beach. Emin has encouraged residents to come to her show, she wrote: ‘If you haven’t been to the gallery yet, you should. It’s fantastic and free. I really hope you can come.’ ArtLyst will review the exhibition next weekend.
She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea: Tracey Emin at Turner Contemporary from Saturday 26 May – 23 September 2012