Tracey Emin RA (b. 1963)

Tracey Emin came to prominence as one of the loose grouping of contemporary artists popularly referred to as YBAs (Young British Artists). This group of artists, also including Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Angus Fairhurst, often exhibited together and collaborated (one of Emin’s early projects was a shop she ran with Lucas in East London). Emin’s work is uninhibited in the way it absorbs and reflects her personal life- whether in seminal installations such as Everyone I Have Slept With 1963-1995 and My Bed, her early performances and videos such as Why I Never Became a Dancer, or her writings (which include a memoir, Strangeland, and a period as a newspaper columnist). Emin has always been inspired by expressionist painters Edvard Munch and Egon Schiele (evident in her Diploma Work Trying to Find You), although her work is also explicitly feminist.Viewing her work generates a experience of intimacy as a result of Emin’s emotional honesty in reflecting on meaningful moments from her life. After presenting Madonna with the UK Music Hall of Fame award in 2004, and vacationing at the music icon’s country estate in Ashcombe, Madonna described Emin as “intelligent and wounded and not afraid to expose herself. She is provocative but she has something to say”.

Tracey Emin was born in London in 1963, and today she lives and works in London and France. Her work takes many different forms of expression, including needlework, sculpture, photography, drawing, painting, video and installation. More recently she has extended into the realm of public art, with works such as her recent The Distance of Your Heart in Sydney (2018). Emin first exhibited at the Royal Academy in the landmark 1997 exhibition Sensation. The show provided a comprehensive survey of Emin and her contemporaries, and included Everyone I Have Slept With 1963-1995 alongside the work of her fellow YBAs. More recently, Emin has exhibited regularly at the RA. In 2008 she was invited to select and hang the work in the Summer Exhibition’s Gallery IV. She was also Eranda Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy Schools from 2011-13.

In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Emin Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her contributions to the visual arts. She continues to create works that both challenge and provide solace to her viewers.


Royal Academician


Born: 1963 in London, England, United Kingdom

Nationality: British

Elected RA: 27 March 2007

Honorary officer: Eranda Professor of Drawing 2011 - 2013

Gender: Female

Visit Tracey Emin RA (b. 1963)'s website

Preferred media: Painting, Sculpture, and Printmaking

Works by Tracey Emin in the RA Collection

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Works associated with Tracey Emin in the RA Collection

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Associated archives

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