Love is What You Want: Tracey Emin @ Hayward Gallery
When Londonist was offered a free ticket to check out the new Emin show, we could only think of one person who should review it for us. Meet guest reviewer and longtime Emin fan Donna Brindley.
I like Tracey in the way I like a best friend. The one who spills everything out in one great big drinking session and then, the next night tells the story differently with a twist revitalised by the dawn of a new day. One minute tragic, down on their luck and out of juice, the next minute accepting of circumstance and ready for the next emotional rollercoaster, without which life would be unbearably dull.
I’ve only seen two Tracey Emin exhibitions to date – the first was Those Who Suffer Love (2009) at the White Cube and it reduced me to tears. I felt every bit of her emotion and I recognised it. I blubbed incomprehensibly down the phone to my husband that it was one of the most moving events of my adult life. Today’s exhibition at the Hayward is more of the same, but this time my appreciation was different. I knew the theme - words to laugh with and smile at knowingly. Drawings of a body form I have come to recognise and adore: The elongated thighs, the calves, the high heels. Her delicately embroidered pubic mound. Those smudgy little images that convey so much.
I applaud Tracey’s use of words, embellished in neon or carefully cut out of bits of fabric with meaningful pasts …. Words said with conviction. And hurt. Both mediums soften the words, but the sentiment is all the more bold and comes right out from the heart. Which is where Tracey leaves you.
Everything ‘Tracey’ is here: Blankets, sculpture, neons, film, display cabinets, the masturbation animation and plenty of associated drawings …. The Hayward exhibition space suits this collection of work. It makes it very accessible, very personal.
I spent the day in subdued melancholy that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. And then I realised. Tracey had touched me again.
By Donna Brindley
Last Updated 23 June 2011