Artwork

Performance / Tracey Emin

1994
Identifier

IWC.1994.81

Materials

chair

Description
Tracey Emin's reading is from her autobiographical book, "Exploration of the Soul." She is traveling with a chair that she embroiders as she travels.

"One day - a kind of warm summer day - my mum - was running down the hill - screaming - my baby - my baby - what's wrong with my baby - I was hung across her arms - my stomach - was about to explode I had on my pink and white striped nightie I felt my eyes rolling - and my head was gone - Paul was riding down the hill on his chopper bike. I remember the yellow - He was calling don't worry sis Sis don't worry - I'll get him for you I'll get him - In the hospital I had to shit into a toilet that had no chain - there was a hole in the bottom - that collected by shit - they put it into a little tub - the police woman was talking to me - but I kept kind of sleeping.

"Aunty Joyce was there - she was saying have you been naughty - mucking around - playing strange games - I don't know - what strange games were - to me it was all real - I just lay there -my blood slowly moving around my body was I really all alive had not part of me died - my world existed outside of me - How could I explain this- to ascend - and keep ascending - Dear God I thought - every part of me is bleeding.

"I believe she is right - I've decided that this chair is my inheritance - an inheritance to my future. I have decorated the chair with patchwork, embroidery and applique. It tells the story of my life. I've written a book called 'Exploration of the Soul' which is about me - my beginning - from the moment of conception to the time I lost my virginity: age 0 - 13.

"I will travel across America by road from San Francisco to New York with the chair and copies of my book. I will be giving one-night performances reading my book in galleries and other venues." -Tracey Emin
Artist Statement
A few years ago my Nan gave me a small green bucket-shaped arm chair. It’s not that special to look at, in fact, it’s a bit shabby.  My Nan is ninety-three now and the chair is nearly as old as she is—when she gave me the chair she told me: 

“There’s a lot of money in chairs.”

I believe that she is right—I’ve decided that this chair is my inheritance—an inheritance to my future.  I have decorated the chair with patchwork, embroidery and appliqué.  It tells the story of my life.  I’ve written a book called Exploration of the Soul which is about me—my beginning—from the moment of conception to the time I lost my virginity: 0-13.  

I will travel across America by car to San Francisco from New York with the chair and copies of my book. I will be giving one-night performances reading my book in galleries and other venues.  
About the Artist
Tracy Emin was born in 1963, in London. She has studied at Maidstone College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. Emin is a multi-media artist who gathers inspiration for her artwork from her own life events: whether they are failures, humilitaions, hopes, or successes. Her artwork includes her sexually provocative attitude from the tradition of feminist discourse.
October 8, 1994
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