Teenage promiscuity, multiple abortions, rape and tortured love affairs - this is the life and art of Tracey Emin. By telling her life-story through her own memories, Emin invites us to share her most painful memories of her unhappy teenage experiences. Emin is clearly a romantic at heart, and behind the facade hides a very sensitive girl with a confession to make. Often too intimate and too personal for some viewers, her work makes us feel like intruders on her personal space, raising a sensation of discomfort and, at the same time, a distinct sense of fascination - a fascination arising from our hunger for real-life dramas and the exposure of private lives for public consumption, issues which truly come to light in Emin's most ambitious work to date, 'The Exorcism of the Last Painting I Ever Made', 1996.
In 1996, Emin went to Stockholm to challenge her six-year painting block. For two weeks, she locked herself in a secluded space created inside the Galleri Andreas Brändström. Completely naked, Emin would sleep, eat and make her exhibition, while the public could watch through sixteen fish-eye lenses in the walls. Emin spent the first three days looking at the bare canvases and talking to friends on the phone. It was not until the critic Carl Freedman advised her to "paint something [she] would like to own" that the images sprang from her brush. An idosyncratic version of Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' and images based on drawings by Egon Schiele - her paintings became autobiographical self-portraits of intimate details of her life.
Photographs taken during the performance depict her in various poses, painting and at rest. Reminiscent of Joseph Beuys' action 'I Like America, America Likes Me', 1974, for which the German artist lived in the René Block Gallery in New York together with a live coyote for several days, Emin lived and worked with her paintings as a self-exploiting therepy. While Beuys was making a social statement, Emin's statement is highly personal. Although her work often seems rough and sketchy, Emin has created a very poetic language of her own, which will leave the spectator with equally strong emotional feelings.
The installation/performance at the Galleri Andreas Brändström in Stockholm is documented in the following lot [no. 32], nine colour photographs titled 'Naked Photos - Life Model Goes Mad', which Emin produced in an edition of three with White Cube, London, in 1996.