Tracey Emin Lights Up St Pancras With Her Giant Words

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 8 months ago
Tracey Emin Lights Up St Pancras With Her Giant Words
Emin stands before her latest work. Copyright The artist, the Royal Academy of Arts and HS1 Ltd.

'I want my time with you'. That's what the massive light sculpture hanging in St Pancras states. It's the sixth and latest art installation in the Terrace Wires series commissioned by HS1, St Pancras International and the Royal Academy of Arts. Of the six installations we've had so far this is by far the most high profile name to have taken part, and comes at both the Royal Academy's 250th anniversary year and 150 years for St Pancras.

Hanging above the divisive giant statue of The Lovers by Paul Day it does seem like something uttered between loved ones. As Emin says:

I cannot think of anything more romantic than being met by someone I love at a train station and as they put their arms around me, I hear them say ‘I want my time with you'

That would be nice, our usual greeting on disembarking is being pushed out the way by a commuter who is late for an important meeting and shambling into the nearest coffee shop for our next caffeine hit.

But there's a secondary message too and it relates to the fact it faces off with the Eurostar platforms and Emin sees it as a love letter to our friends on the continent:

It’s really a great subliminal message sent out to the rest of Europe ... I am deeply, deeply concerned about Europe, and that in a year’s time we’re going to be a tiny little island just floating around in the North Sea. I don’t personally want to leave Europe at all and this is my message to all Europeans. I love Europe.

Emin also remarked how it would look even more impressive at night when the station concourse will become bathed in pink light. We like this idea and will add a night time re-visit to our diaries.

Our verdict

We harbour divided views on Tracey Emin's work — we love her unmade bed, but her last painting show had us wondering whether she had stopped growing as an artist.

We've seen plenty of her handwritten phrases converted to neon. In a gallery these phrases lack context, and placing a phrase loaded with emotion on to stale white walls has very little impact and feels cliched.

However, in this case it feels like Emin has finally found the right place for one of these works. When travellers pile off a train they don't have the desire or time to stop and stare at a thought provoking conceptual artwork — what they want after a long journey is something uplifting that adds a little skip in their step.

That's what this work does — it's an instant hit, it lifts the mood with it's warm pink glow and will hopefully bring a smile to a fair few faces.  

Terrace Wires: Tracey Emin - I Want My Time With You is at St Pancras station. It's an annual commission so will be on display for the best part of a year.

Last Updated 11 April 2018