A fortnight of tears 2018

Tracey Emin: Insomnia Room instalation.


Fifty glycee prints, 198cm X 152.4cm Inhabit the south gallery all of them are of Emin. Fifty Selfies all taken in the same state of sleepless despairation in the stilled moments of relentless wakefull nights become day. And there is a harowed angst written on her face in each similarly composed  picture, a silent, mute prayer for sleep in the early hours as dawn threatens.

Come again, go again! This is the first reolve, entering The room. Walking, meself as a somnambulist through the huge brave prints, the Emin'eds of the "Insomnia instalation".

All there confronting and vivid and accusing and flitting. A beautifuly apt intruduction as it is to the sickly benedictiion of the parasomnial state, the liteny of sins on the soul, the enlightenment and distress, the grinding of teeth and all the comcomitant afflictions this condition engenders.

She is on me, she is seeping in and there then is a mutating linear progression in the qoutidian happenstance of cat, tit, bric a brac inclusions in the frame, her eyelids sewn open, watching in a penance for having lived, for being alive. 

It is the viewer who is observed by the ghost of a painful waking dream.


"Insomnia room installation"

"The Mother" 2017

"The Mother" 9X9X9 Gallery, 2017. 296cmx177cmx235cm

“The Mother” is a monolith a lumpen form, earth bound, of the earth, bled from the earth’s hidden cache of molten metal. It is an elegant amalgam of the most base forces of spirit and will. Insisted with life gnarled fists on the clay formed bronze.

“The Mother” is elemental it draws you in, bound to its mass, pulled in, orbiting tight in its gravity. It is a precursor to itself, in that it will be echoed in the commission to be installed on Oslo’ s museum island, beside the Munch museum, late in the spring of 2020

It is echoed again in the other “fallen” forms in. gallery II. Two Languorous figures laying in extended arabesques. In the case of “When I sleep” (2018, 116.5cmX434cmX265cm) A massive piece of supine calligraphy, calves welted together, stilling the crawl of a taught foetal spasm, the torso and head exploding inwards, the backbone is in part exposed. It is gentle and absolute, a weighted  mess of feelings.

In “I lay here for you” (2018, 147cmX638cmX285cm) the bronze lies braced in “the moment,” a slender pause caught up in the little fits of onanistic pleasures, her hands hidden by thigh and buttock attendant on her loins. The head anchors the figure to the floor triangulating all the points of nascent joy, the intrinsic rapture of a ghost fuck at the hands of an imagined absent lover. Crowded in ecstatic repose.

In the both, in the all, there is the same puckered patina iridescent under the gallery’s fluorescent lighting. Reflected in the tiny sculptures, fetish’s, talismans, held in the vitrines of the “Ashes room.” There are the rain washed, melded, svelte little golden fishes fit to cross a prescient’s palm. Then the hand-written double-ply Ouja cards circling the empty inverted wine glass, the flux of malign and twisted portents. Here the walls are hung with the many of Emin’s line drawings, all executed with the same sublime astutely apt aesthetic. In an anti-room within the ashes room gallery, there is a video instalation of the small coffin that bore her Mothers ashes. It plays over and over, looping all through the day and behind our backs, through the night. All the much and the many more. An exquisite plethora of Tracey Emin artefacts.


(Sculpture) "When I sleep" (Paintings) "In the Dead Dark of night I wanted you" (L) "Another Hell" (R)

"I lay here for you" (Sculpture) "Mum and Dad" (Painting) 2018

And then there are the paintings, Emin’s paintings are too often compared to a fistful of remarkable makers, usually: Schiele, Munch and Kollwitz, so renowned as to be all departed. More than these three combined is the spirit or soul of Cy Twombly. Emin was born the same year as “The wilder shores of Love” one of Twombly’s most accomplished and beautiful paintings and a miniscule piece of trivia but….

Emin’s pallet is so close as to be the same; blood washed scarlet and the congeal of clot red black. The process of paint thinned, running across the canvas. Calligraphers both with most abstract of solid form, fleeting and assured, transient and essential. Inimitable now. Tracey Emin’s paintings are alive and beautifully drafted behind the mist of a masterful technique. I am a convert. Contrite in the revelation her great talent.

Three paintings guard entry to the ashes room: “I watched you disappear”, “I was too young to be carrying your ashes” and “you were still there”. There is perverse solidity to “I watched you disappear” in that it is such an apparition, such a revelation of love as to be a vivid affirmation of the loss of a loved one, ever present in the blinked moment in a temporal blister, scar residue, mourning still all forever there.

In “I was too young to carry your ashes” The gebet of a memory, a perverse blessing. A blood red shrouded female figure carries the weight of her mother’s ashes in a reliquary rudely outlined against an emergent flood of crimson.

Only “You were still there.” Suggests the accomplished form armature outline of a Schiele and again with the sublime brevity of Twombly, the point is that these paintings, all of Emin’s paintings are neither nor. They are absolutely Tracey Emin paintings Assertive, astute, painful and wonderful. All other comparisons are futile. Tracey Emin defines herself, and no-where more than in this eloquently curated show. In all aspects of her work, in all the disparate media, they are ultimately bravely beautiful and very Eminy.

"The memory of your birth" 2018. 153.7cm X 184.3cm.

"I watched tou disappear. Pink ghost" 2018. 184.5cm X 123.4cm (L) " was too young to be carrying your Ashes" 2017-18. 184.5cm X 123.5cm (M) "You were still there" 2018. 184.3cm X 123.3cm (R)

"Mum and Dad" 2017. 280.7cm X 413cm.