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That is what was scrawled in somewhat glowing letters in one of Tracey Emin’s art exhibitions. She is almost thirty now and after an almost willingly traumatic existence, she has settled down with fellow artist Mat Collishaw. Now that she is ‘happy’, critics are wondering whether she can retain her edge. These same critics have accused her of narcissism and solipsism, but others admire her for, literally, putting her trash on display.

She delivers exceedingly confessional art, dubbed neurotic, in a creepily bold manner that somehow becomes unquestionably humorous. Her work is very gimmicky and maudlin; it is very, very transformative, she has shared everything with us in her art, from an actual piece of her own aborted foetus, down to dirty panties, pregnancy tests, and used tampons. She was awarded for this with a place on the short list for the esteemed Turner Prize in 1999.

Her piece entitled "Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995" consists of a mattress inside a tent. Appliquéd against the florid background of the tent are the names of all her past lovers. The tent is illuminated by a light, giving it the feel of a shrine.

The reason she smears such raw, painful material in our faces is that she “really cannot carry on living with all that stuff stuck inside her". She is about to embark on a series of autobiographical short stories. These will retell for the trillionth time, her childhood tragedies including the abusive stepfathers, her rape at thirteen years old, her many many teenage sexual partners, the bond she shares with her twin brother, her abortion, and an assortment of influential degradations.

She says that from around age eight, she never wanted to give birth to a child because she never wanted to leave a part of herself, blood and genes, behind when she died. She didn’t think there was anything worth leaving, in her usual expressively self-loathing manner. However, she is also a huge egomaniac, so when we witness the alternation between the two, that is when we feel the true Emin essence, that is what makes her work more compassionate than painful childish rubbish.

Tracy Emin is mainly notable for her 1999 Turner Prize exhibit "The Bed", and its accompanying press hype. The exhibit, an "installation" consisted of a filthy unmade bed surrounded by personal possessions of the artist, insane scrawlings in crayon on pieces of paper randomly stuck to the walls and various articles of used feminine hygiene products scattered throughout the installation. Media hype reached a natural climax when Emin claimed that she'd slept with several of the judges on the Turner Prize panel, assuring her victory.

Ironic then that the "prize" was eventually won by a previously unknown multimedia artist, Steve McQueen, whose piece consisted of a looped film showing the front of a building falling down and narrowly missing crushing the young artist to death, the window of the building neatly falling around him, Buster Keaton stylee.

It appears that Tracey Emin has shot herself in the foot with her "art as a means of personal disclosure" approach:

Recently, I read a newspaper story, in The Guardian, describing how the artist who is (in)famous for literally parading her dirty laundry in public had put up posters around her east London neighbourhood asking for help in finding her missing cat, "Docket". These posters were ripped down as fast as she could put them up, presumably by masses of art cognoscenti as they were reportedly changing hands at up to UKP 500. A spokesman for the perplexed Ms. Emin insisted that "she really had lost her cat".

Let's hope nearby-nieghbour Damien Hirst doesn't find "Docket" before she does...

2002.03.30 Update: "Docket" has been found, apparently. (Thanks, WolfKeeper).

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