Love note: ahead of her sabbatical, Tracey Emin presents ’Stone Love’ in NYC

'Stone Love’
'Stone Love’ – currently running at Lehmann Maupin’s New York space – is the last exhibition from Tracey Emin before the artist embarks on a year's break
(Image credit: EPW Studio, Maris Hutchinson)

No one could ever accuse Tracey Emin of resting on her laurels. Hot on the heels of unveiling new work at Lehmann Maupin in Hong Kong, the artist has followed that effort up with ‘Stone Love’ at the gallery’s New York space – a presentation of more new paintings, works on paper and neons, along with captivating embroidered works and a series of provocative bronze sculptures. The exhibtion is confirmed as her last before a year’s break.

Although a range of different media is on display, Emin’s subject matter is very much a continuation of her personal narratives and self-reflection. Large embroidered pieces depict the human figure (hers) in various states of repose. The figures presented are less idealised and more astutely represented, revealing a rounder form and even rolls of flesh depicted in a flurry of black threads on calico.

‘I’ve always been a figurative artist,’ she explains. ‘In the 1990s, I used the figure but with words. It’s like I just took the figure out of everything. Like the bed for example – it’s really figurative, except that the figure has got up and walked out of the bed. I was always drawing but the drawings were like a diary at the time.’

Small-scale bronze works, which are intentionally abstracted and primitively formed, are treated as three-dimensional iterations of her drawings, which are also present in different scales around the gallery. ‘I just want to be more hands on with everything. I want to be in control,’ Emin reiterates. ‘I want it to be me, so even if I make mistakes, they’re my mistakes. When I die, I want people to know that "she touched that". That’s really important to me.’

The title of the show riffs on David Bowie’s song Soul Love and explores the different notions of love, which Emin had considered well before Bowie’s death. ‘[It] is about love and the reflection of love; the desire to melt into the image of someone else, the fantasy of love,’ she says. ‘I’d rather keep that love sustained. For example, being in love with a stone is fine. It’s beautiful, it’s monumental, it’s dignified. It will never ever let me down. It’s a metaphor for what I prefer to live with.’

As for her much discussed sabbatical, Emin responds to the sceptics, ‘The reason why I’m having a year off is not to stop making art, it’s so I can make art. It’s all the other things that interfere with my process and what I want to do. I want to wake up everyday, think about art and make art. I don’t want to have an opening or do an interview, or any charity work, or sign off on anything. I just want to make the work.’

provocative bronze sculptures

The presentation includes new paintings, works on paper and neons, along with embroidered works and a series of provocative bronze sculptures

(Image credit: EPW Studio, Maris Hutchinson)

embroidered pieces

Large embroidered pieces depict the human figure in various states of repose

(Image credit: EPW Studio, Maris Hutchinson)

Small-scale bronze works

Small-scale bronze works, which are intentionally abstracted and primitively formed, are treated as three-dimensional iterations of her drawings, which are also present in different scales around the gallery

(Image credit: EPW Studio, Maris Hutchinson)

Untitled (TBC), 2016

‘I’ve always been a figurative artist,’ Emin explains. ‘In the 1990s, I used the figure, but [in the form of] words. It’s like I just took the figure out of everything.' Pictured: Untitled (TBC), 2016

(Image credit: EPW Studio, Maris Hutchinson)

’Stone Love’

The title of the show riffs on David Bowie’s song ‘Soul Love’ and explores the different notions of love, which Emin had considered well before Bowie’s death. ‘[It] is about love and the reflection of love; the desire to melt into the image of someone else, the fantasy of love,’ she says

(Image credit: TBC)

INFORMATION

'Stone Love' is on view until 18 June. For more details, visit Lehmann Maupin's website (opens in new tab)

Photography: EPW Studio/Maris Hutchinson. Courtesy Lehmann Maupin

ADDRESS

Lehmann Maupin
536 West 22nd Street
New York, NY 10011

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Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.