7. Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin b. 1963, Croydon, England Everything for Love blue neon, 2011 The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art Gift of Barbara (R1968) and Theodore (R1968) Alfond Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College 2013.34.073 Like many contemporary artists, Tracey Emin shares the belief that the role of the artist is “to change our perception of the world that we live in.” Emin, who works across various media, also believes that “[art is] about communication” and is “allowed to be for everybody.” Everything for Love, as well as Emin’s other neon pieces, seems especially evocative of these particular beliefs. Her neons, sixty-seven of which were exhibited for her first solo museum show in the U.S. at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami in 2013, feature notes and scribbles from her personal writings. The phrase “everything for love,” once a private thought undoubtedly repeated over and over again in the artist’s mind, is an accessible one, a sentiment that most people can understand, regardless of whether or not they agree with it. The medium itself is accessible to most viewers, as well, the neon sign being most ubiquitous as a means of advertising. Advertising, by its very nature, is about relaying information from one entity to a group of people. Advertising is communication. Often discussed in relation to the Young British Artists, a group of controversial artists who rose to prominence during the 1990s, Tracey Emin makes work that, while at times is very explicit, is very intimate. Emin is her own muse, and she puts on display all of her vulnerabilities, strengths, losses, and wins, especially in her neons. Her work raises questions related to the construction of the dichotomy of private and public, voyeurism, identity, and love.