In her first solo exhibition in a London gallery, for five years, Tracey Emin continues her fascination with self-examination and self-reflection. The work consists of drawings, bronze sculptures, large scale embroideries, gouache paintings and neon works, mainly depicting the female nude form, in various compositions floating in front of an empty background. The work creates a feeling of void and of empty vastness. Most of the figures are faceless, generating a dual impression of detachment and intimacy. However, the overall impression is of an attempt to re-create bygone times and emotions and the work ends up lacking Tracey’s signature bite and feistiness.
While the female form is worked and re-worked in layers, the actual result is somewhat placid: The bronze sculptures which were placed on simple wood and metal stands are plain in structure and emotions, the headless bodies appear to almost melt in parts and deform in others they are reminiscent of Francis Bacon’s tortured bodies, yet missing that tension and undercurrent of violence that could uplift the sculptures into masterpieces.
Tracey’s Neon works are still as good as ever: their punchy confessions, such as “ More solitude” and “ Your Absence only make me love you more” retains a fragile balance that threads throughout her historical artworks: The winning combination of intimate thoughts and confessions not only made public, but lit in bright large scale Neon Lights summaries Tracey as a fascinating artist; Her life laid bare for all to see, pick, analyse, prod, and examine, unedited, provoking and honest, brilliant video artworks such as “ “ Why I never became a dancer”(1995) is greatly missed – “The Last Great Adventure is You” makes this still a must see exhibition.
All and all this show adds nothing to a progressive understanding of Ms Emin’s work, which was showcased in retrospective form at the Hayward Gallery in 2011 and again at Turner Contemporary in 2012. It is however worth a look in. Tracey Emin’s eagerly anticipated exhibition opens to the public at White Cube Bermondsey on Wednesday 8th October.
Words/Photo: M.C. 2014 © Artlyst all rights reserved
“The Last Great Adventure is You” Tracey Emin White Cube Bermondsey 8 October- 16 November 2014 Tuesday to Saturday 10am-6pm Sunday 12-6pm