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Tracey Emin opens major New York exhibition - FAD Magazine

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Tracey Emin opens major New York exhibition

Tracey Emin opens major New York exhibition at White Cube, ‘Lovers Grave’ is the inaugural solo exhibition at White Cube’s New York gallery at 1002 Madison Avenue. Tracey Emin’s (b. 1963, London) first show in the city in almost 8 years brings together new paintings completed in her studios in London and Margate, UK.

Tracey Emin ‘Lovers Grave’ White Cube New York 4 November 2023 –13 January 2024 ©the artist, photo ©White Cube (On White Wall)

One of the most compelling and singular artists of our times, Emin looks to her life for her primary source material, drawing on themes of love, desire, loss and grief to create works that are disarmingly and unashamedly emotional. 

With a multidisciplinary practice spanning drawing, painting, film, photography, sewn appliqué, sculpture, neon and writing, Emin has directed a greater critical focus towards painting in recent years, after a life-threatening illness had a profound impact on her physical state and her artistic outlook. 

The concept of ‘Lovers Grave’ originates from images of archaeological burial sites, where human remains have been excavated and found to be clutching one another, seemingly locked in an eternal loving embrace. The notion of everlasting devotion between two people, even into the afterlife, fascinates Emin, who considers the quest for such depth of love to be one of the fundamental elements of life.

Tracey Emin ‘Lovers Grave’ White Cube New York 4 November 2023 –13 January 2024 ©the artist, photo ©White Cube (On White Wall)
Tracey Emin ‘Lovers Grave’ White Cube New York 4 November 2023 –13 January 2024 ©the artist, photo ©White Cube (On White Wall)

The theme of resurrection holds particular resonance for Emin. In these works, love is buried, and yet from the sepulchre, new life forms emerge – in the artist’s words, ‘like a phoenix rising from the ashes’.

Tracey Emin ‘Lovers Grave’ White Cube New York 4 November 2023 –13 January 2024 ©the artist, photo ©White Cube (On White Wall)

Highlights from the exhibition include the painting The Beggining and The end of Everything (2023), where a female figure lies within a loosely delineated form that can be simultaneously read as a bed, a shallow grave or a vast topography of mark-making. The motif of ‘Death and the Maiden’, where the personification of expiration confronts the vitality of life, is a prevalent theme throughout the works. In Is Nothing Sacred (2023), the supine figure lies in supplication, witnessed by a dark presence in the room which, for the artist, is both the manifestation of an out-of-body experience and an uninvited apparition. 

Tracey Emin, There was no Right way, 2022, Acrylic on canvas 205.5 x 279.5 cm| 80 7/8 x 110 1/16 in

Themes of tumultuous lovemaking are manifest in works such as There was no Right way (2022), where vigorous gestures expose bodily contours before disappearing into an abstracted landscape. Small autobiographical details make guest appearances, such as in Another World (2023): a bust of the Egyptian princess Nefertiti sitting atop a cabinet in the artist’s bedroom or the geometric design of a Persian rug. In I went home (2023), a grave-shaped backdrop doubles as the aerial contour of the town of Margate, where the artist lives and works.  

Tracey Emin, I went home, 2023, Acrylic on canvas, 205.5 x 279.5 cm| 80 7/8 x 110 1/16 in.

Tracey Emin, Lovers Grave, 4th November 2023 – 13th January 2024, White Cube New York

Following ‘Lovers Grave’, in 2024 White Cube New York will present solo exhibitions of work by Theaster Gates opening in January, followed by Antony Gormley in the spring.

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