365 Days of Art: July 3 – Tracey Emin is Born

Tracey Emin, Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, 1963 - 1995, 1995

July 3, 1963

Tracey Emin is born. She is known for confessionally incorporating her personal life into her work, and use of text, particularly wordplay (and spelling errors).

One of her best-known pieces is a tent that displays the stitched names of–literally–Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995. This isn’t pure exhibitionism but rather about all kinds of intimacy; Emin includes the name of her grandmother, and twin brother. Poignantly to me, she also includes two aborted fetuses that she aborted. And yes, boyfriends.

Another confessional piece is My Bed, which is displayed as-is, exactly how she lived in it for several days when she felt suicidal: yellow stained sheets on mattresses that are surrounded by garbage that she was too depressed to clean up: condoms, empty cigarette packs, dirty underwear with period stains, slippers that she kicked off.

Emin also exhibited several drawings about Princess Diana and her death, work which she called sincere and not cynical.