‘Tracey Emin: Lovers Grave’ to Open at White Cube New York in November




Tracey Emin, And It was Love, 2023. Acrylic on canvas. 80 7/8 x 110 1/16 in. | (205.5 x 279.5 cm).
© Tracey Emin. All rights reserved, DACS 2023. Photo © Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

‘Lovers Grave’ is the inaugural solo exhibition at White Cube’s New York gallery at 1002 Madison Avenue. Tracey Emin’s (b. 1963, London) first show in the city in almost 8 years brings together new paintings and works on paper completed in her studios in London and Margate, UK. Opening November 4th.

Tracey Emin at White Cube NYC ‘Lovers Grave’. November 2, 2023.  Photo credit: ©Roberta Fineberg

One of the most compelling and singular artists of our times, Emin looks to her life for her primary source material, drawing on themes of love, desire, loss and grief to create works that are disarmingly and unashamedly emotional. With a multidisciplinary practice spanning drawing, painting, film, photography, sewn appliqué, sculpture, neon and writing, Emin has directed a greater critical focus towards painting in recent years, after a life-threatening illness had a profound impact on her physical state and her artistic outlook.

The concept of ‘Lovers Grave’ originates from images of archaeological burial sites, where human remains have been excavated and found to be clutching one another, seemingly locked in an eternal loving embrace. The notion of everlasting devotion between two people, even into the afterlife, fascinates Emin, who considers the quest for such depth of love to be one of the fundamental elements of life.

Tracey Emin, The Beginning and The end of Everything, 2023. Image courtesy White Cube.

The theme of resurrection holds particular resonance for Emin. In these works, love is buried,and yet from the sepulchre, new life forms emerge – in the artist’s words, ‘like a phoenix rising from the ashes’.

Highlights from the exhibition include the painting The Beggining and The end of Everything (2023), where a female figure lies within a loosely delineated form that can be simultaneously read as a bed, a shallow grave or a vast topography of mark-making. The motif of ‘Death and he Maiden’, where the personification of expiration confronts the vitality of life, is a prevalent theme throughout the works. In Is Nothing Sacred (2023), the supine figure lies in supplication, witnessed by a dark presence in the room which, for the artist, is both the manifestation of an out-of-body experience and an uninvited apparition.

Tracey Emin at White Cube NYC ‘Lovers Grave’. November 2, 2023.  Photo credit: ©Roberta Fineberg

Themes of tumultuous lovemaking are manifest in works such as There was no Right way (2022), where vigorous gestures expose bodily contours before disappearing into an abstracted landscape. Small autobiographical details make guest appearances, such as in Another World (2023): a bust of the Egyptian princess Nefertiti sitting atop a cabinet in the artist’s bedroom or the geometric design of a Persian rug. In I went home (2023), a grave-shaped backdrop doubles as the aerial contour of the town of Margate, where the artist lives and works.

About the Artist ~ Tracey Emin was born in 1963 in London. She currently lives and works between London, the South of France and Margate, UK. Emin has exhibited extensively including solo exhibitions at the Munch Museum, Oslo (2021); the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2020); Musée d’Orsay, Paris (2019); Château La Coste, Aix-en-Provence, France (2017); Leopold Museum, Vienna (2015); Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, Florida (2013); Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (2012); Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2012); Hayward Gallery, London (2011); Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland (2009); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2008); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Malaga, Spain (2008); Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2003); and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2002).

In 2007 Emin represented Great Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale and her installation My Bed has been included in ‘In Focus’ displays at Tate Britain with Francis Bacon (2015), Tate Liverpool with William Blake and Turner Contemporary, Margate alongside JMW Turner (2017). In 2011, Emin was appointed Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and in 2012 was made Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her contributions to the visual arts.

White Cube New York Photo © White Cube (Nicholas Venezia).

Tracey Emin: Lovers Grave will be on view from November 4, 2023 to January 13, 2024 at White Cube New York, 1002 Madison Avenue between 77th and 78th Streets, NYC.

Following ‘Lovers Grave’, in 2024 White Cube New York will present solo exhibitions of work by Theaster Gates opening January 31, followed by Antony Gormley in the spring, 2024.

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