- TRACEY EMIN / CHRONOLOGY
Tracey Emin born on 3 July, ten minutes after twin brother Paul, to parents Pam Cashin and Envar Emin in Croydon, London. Originally named Tracey Cashin, mother Pam changed her surname to Emin shortly afterwards.
Moves to the Hotel International in Margate, the family’s new business.
Leaves school at the age of thirteen, returning at fifteen to sit final exams.
Leaves Margate for London, working in shops in Oxford Street and Kensington Market. Lives for a time in a squat in Warren Street together with students from Central St Martin’s School of Art.
Returns to Margate and enrolls on diploma in fashion at Medway College of Design in Rochester, Kent, where she begins to experiment with textiles.
Emin meets the painter, poet and musician Billy Childish who encourages her to be an artist. Leaves Medway College mid-way through the academic year. Enrolls as a foundation student at the Sir John Cass School after hearing Joe Strummer (of The Clash) talk of it on the radio. Begins to focus on printmaking.
Accepted on the printmaking course at Maidstone College of Art. Lives in Rochester, near Billy Childish, who continues to be a positive influence and encourages her to see her life experiences as subjects for her art. Joins the experimental proofing project at Curwen Studio, London where she and other students work in professional atelier conditions to produce monoprints and lithographs.
Photo Eugen O'neill
Leaves Maidstone College with a first-class degree.
Emin embarks on a two-year MA course in painting at the Royal College of Art in London, where she is extremely unhappy. Halfway through the course she destroys her paintings (which were on panels), smashing them up with a sledgehammer in the courtyard of the college.
Temporarily gives up painting and art in an act of ‘emotional suicide’, and destroys the paintings she had done at the Royal College (she kept the drawings) by quietly taking the canvases off their stretchers and placing them in a skip.
Enrolls on a part-time philosophy course at Morley College, an adult education centre in Waterloo, where she becomes deeply interested in Spinoza and Nietzsche. Begins working as a youth tutor, teaching art in youth clubs in Southwark. Does not paint but continues to make monoprints and write.
Meets Sarah Lucas and begins attending exhibitions and private views across the city. Meets Carl Freedman. Emin invites about eighty people to invest in her ‘creative potential’. For £10 they would receive four pieces of mail from the artist, one marked personal.
Emin and Sarah Lucas open ‘The Shop’ on 14 January 1993 at 103 Bethnal Green Road, selling a range of items, mostly handmade by the artists. Jay Jopling, who opened his gallery White Cube in May that year, becomes a subscriber to her letters. He later invites her to have an exhibition, which she titles ‘Tracey Emin: My Major Retrospective 1963-1993’. It features her first appliqué blanket, ‘Hotel International’, as well as framed memorabilia works.
Photo Carl Freedman
Composes ‘Exploration of the Soul’, a hand-written account of her early years up until her rape at the age of 13, selling the edition of 200 facsimiles. The proceeds fund a tour across America with Carl Freedman that summer. Traveling with a chair belonging to her grandmother, Emin gives performances in which she sits on the chair and reads from the book. After each event she stitches the name of the city into the chair, which later becomes the artwork, ‘There’s Alot of Money in Chairs’. She sells the book edition along the way to fund the trip.
Selected for the group exhibition ‘Minky Manky’, organised by Carl Freedman for the South London Gallery, she exhibits ‘Everyone I Have Ever Slept with 1963-1995’ – a tent featuring the names of over one hundred people she has loved. On 11 December she opens the Tracey Emin Museum on Waterloo Road. Issues a set of ‘mini’ and ‘major Emin bonds’ at £50 or £500. Emin also shows her first neon, eponymous with the Museum. Makes the film Why I Never Became a Dancer.
Photo Stephen White
Makes film ‘How it Feels’, recounting abortion in 1990. Undertakes solo exhibition at Galleri Andreas Brändström in Stockholm, where she lives naked in a room for three and a half weeks making artworks and painting again for the first time since 1990. Visitors can observe her through fish-eye lenses inserted into the walls. The work was titled ‘Exorcism of the last Painting I ever made’.
‘Everyone I Have Ever Slept with 1963-1995’ is shown in the Royal Academy’s ‘Sensation’ exhibition. Emin takes part in television debate on the death of painting for Channel 4, linked to this year’s Turner Prize exhibition. She arrives heavily inebriated and proceeds to accuse people of not listening to her, before storming off mid-way through the programme. The event is widely reported in the press the next day. Exhibits solo exhibition at the South London Gallery titled ‘I Need Art Like I Need God’. Emin opens temporary exhibition in a London branch of Habitat.
First shows her work ‘My Bed’ at the Sagacho Exhibition Space in Tokyo, which is subsequently included in her first solo exhibition in the United States at Lehmann Maupin, New York, titled ‘Tracey Emin: Every Part of Me’s Bleeding’. ‘Cunt Vernacular’ opens at Galerie Gebauer. Tracey Emin Museum closes.
Photo Masayuki Hayashi
Shortlisted for the annual Turner Prize at Tate Britain, where in addition to other work, she presents ‘My Bed’ for the first time in Britain, attracting unprecedented media coverage of her work.
Emin is now a widely recognized media figure, socializing with celebrities including Elton John, George Michael and Vivienne Westwood, who also collect her work. She begins writing a column for GQ Magazine and is regular panelist and interviewee on television and radio. Moves to Spitalfields. Selected for ‘British Art Show 5’.
Emin is awarded the Jury Prize at the 8th Cairo Biennale.
‘This is Another Place’, is presented at Modern Art Oxford. Central to the show is Emin’s large-scale installation piece, ‘Knowing My Enemy’, which is created for the exhibition. ‘Ten Years. Tracey Emin’ opens at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Photo Stephen White courtesy of White Cube
With exhibition ‘Menphis’, at Counter Gallery, London, Emin returns to the memorabilia format after a ten-year hiatus.
Photo Stephen White
A fire in Momart’s East End Warehouse destroys numerous works associated with the yBa generation including ‘Everyone I Have Ever Slept with 1963-1995’. Emin presents the following solo exhibitions: ‘I’ll Meet you in Heaven’ (Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, Rome), and ‘Tracey Emin’ (BP Art Displays at Tate Britain, London). Makes feature film ‘TopSpot’.
Emin first public artwork, Roman Standard, is permanently installed outside the Oratory, adjacent to Liverpool Cathedral. Begins writing a regular column for The Independent newspaper. Her book of collected writings ‘Strangeland’ is published.
Emin represents Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale, with a show entitled ‘Borrowed Light’. She is made a Royal Academician and is awarded Honorary Doctorates by the University of Kent, London Metropolitan University, and the Royal College of Art. You Left Me Breathing opens at Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles.
Photo Scott Douglas
Major retrospective exhibition, titled ‘Tracey Emin: 20 years’, opens at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and then tours to Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, Malaga and Kunstmuseum, Bern. Establishes 'Tracey Emin Library’ at the Forest High School in rural Uganda. Emin’s pink neon work, ‘For You’, which reads ‘I felt you and I knew you loved me’, is installed above the great West doors of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral as part of the city’s Capital of Culture.
Tracey Emin, For You, 2008 ©Tracey Emin
Photo Barry Hale
‘Mat Collishaw, Tracey Emin & Paula Rego: At the Foundling’, Foundling Museum, London. ‘Praying To A Different God’, LoveArt, Sydney. ‘Do Not Abandon Me’ a collaboration with Louise Bourgeois, opens at Carolina Nitsch Project Room, New York, later touring to Hauser & Worth, London. The neon commission ‘I Never Stopped Loving You’ is unveiled in her home town of Margate
Tracey Emin, Foundlings and Fledglings Our Angels of this Earth, 2010 ©Tracey Emin
Photo Todd-White Art Photography
The largest survey exhibition of Emin’s work to date opens in London at the Hayward Gallery.