Tracey Emin


Born in Croydon in 1963, Tracey Emin CBE, RA initially studied fashion at Medway College of Design, where she became associated with the Medway Poets and worked for the printing press Hangman Books. Following this, Emin transitioned to studying art and attended Maidstone Art College, which she cited as having the greatest influence on her life and art. She then pursued an MA from the Royal College of Art. In 1993, Emin sold her works with the artist Sarah Lucas in their own shop at 103 Bethnal Green Road. This same year, Emin had her first solo show at White Cube Gallery in London. In 1994, Emin embarked on a tour of America, reading from her autobiographical book Exploration of the Soul while sat in her grandmother's chair.  During this period, Emin became widely associated with the Young British Artists who came to prominence in the 90s, alongside the likes of Damien Hirst.

Emin first gained major recognition with her Turner Prize-shortlisted installation My Bed in 1999. In 2006, Emin was selected by the British Council to produce a show of works for the British Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007, the second woman to do so since Rachel Whiteread in 1997. Emin's works have been exhibited in prestigious galleries across the globe, including multiple solo shows at White Cube in London and Brazil, shows at the Saatchi Gallery, the Royal Academy, Tate Gallery in London, Carolina Nitsch Contemporary Art in New York, Galerie Fleugel-Roncak, Nuremberg and Xavier Hufkins in Brussels. Emin's work has been featured in many group shows and art fairs internationally, from New York, Miami, Georgia, Zurich, Brazil and Bremen to Taipei. Her work is in collections across the globe, including the private collections of Charles Saatchi and George Michael.

Emin is also a lecturer and speaker, she has spoken at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal Academy of Arts and Tate Britain, exploring the connections between autobiography and creativity and the role of personal histories in art. Emin continues to exhibit her work across the globe as of 2020, and since 2011 has been the Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy of Arts.


Best known for her confessional artwork, Emin has worked in a huge range of media, including, drawing, painting, sculpture, monoprints, film, photography, sewn appliqué, neon text and found objects. Emin's work is largely autobiographical, often graphic and provocative, spinning confessional artworks from moments of deep intimacy and vulnerability.

Acquired by Ruth Borchard Collection in 2012, Emin's The End (2012) is no different, with Emin's legs open before the viewer leaning against a bed redolent of her infamous 1999 installation. Emin's fluid mark-making and simple composition speaks to the allegorical connotations of the bed as a place of intimacy, vulnerability and ultimately of generation and regeneration. Emin, posed before the bed, reflects these same notions through her physical form, open and declarative while also partially concealed.