Tracey Emin, alongside Damien Hirst, is one of a few contemporary artists who can be considered a household name; and just like Hirst, she divides opinions — especially around her more sensationalist works. We also have split views on her art — at her best she portrays an intimate view of femininity but at her worst she creates simplistic drawings and neon phrases ad infinitum.
It's been three years since her show at the Hayward Gallery and we were looking forward to a show that promised to take her work in a new direction.
The exhibition opens with a signature neon work and nude sketches of herself, something which will be familiar to any fan of her work. Some of these sketches have been magnified to create large-scale works, but these lack the intimacy of her smaller pieces. The cavernous south gallery is reserved for her newer paintings and sculpture, all revolving around the theme of self-examination. While these works demonstrate Emin's use of new media, they seem very similar to her previous work — perhaps the best way to describe them is that they are technically new, but they don't feel new.
Emin made a massive impact on the contemporary art scene when she arrived, but as her work has remained rooted to a singular theme with slight variations, it all feels a little tired. People expecting something new and different will be disappointed with this exhibition.
Tracey Emin: The Last Great Adventure is You is at White Cube, 144-152 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ until 16 November. Entrance is free.