Tracey Emin - dirty sheets and all
The first UK retrospective of Brit artist Tracey Emin has just opened in Edinburgh and the knives are out of some critics' pockets. It's better to have a visit and look and come to your own conclusions about Tracey's work which can be shocking and yet uplifting at the same time time. Her wordplay is as important as the visual impact in some of her work and she has no doubt great drawing skills when she chooses to let us see them. Here we get a balanced introduction and review of Emin's exhibition which must be worth an hour or so of anyone's time in Edinburgh. If her work will stand the test of time is still to be seen but the British public while shocked at times by her do seem to have a place in their heart for Tracey who is seen as honest somehow.
Since she first made her mark in the early Nineties, Tracey Emin has systematically thrust herself into the limelight. She is now probably the most recognisable living artist in the country, more famous even than her YBA contemporary, Damien Hirst.
But her provocative candour, boozy antics and publicity-craving stunts have had an adverse effect on the critical reception to her work: Mad Tracey from Margate (the nickname is her own) is just a bit too showbiz to be taken seriously.
When she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1999, she notoriously showed her unmade bed, surrounded by squalid mementoes of life on the edge, including empty vodka bottles, pill packets and used condoms. Histrionic and weak, the piece emanated more than a whiff of ego. She didn't win.