Tracey Emin Finds a Kindred Spirit in Egon Schiele

Tracey Emin in front of Egon Schieles painting Seated Male Nude. Photo: A. Ludwig via Leopold Museum, Vienna

A comprehensive exhibition featuring over 80 works by Tracey Emin, on view at the Leopold Museum in Vienna, draws connections between the YBA-generation enfant terrible, and the work of Egon Schiele (see Signed Egon Schiele Letter and Ronald Reagan Photo Smash Expectations at Swann Galleries).

The exhibition surveys the breadth of Emin’s oeuvre in a host of different mediums, including paintings, gouaches, videos, neon installations, bronze sculptures, and photographs, as well as wood, metal, and textile pieces.

Emin hand-picked a series of paintings and drawings by the Austrian expressionist Schiele (1890-1918) to hang beside her works, giving visitors the opportunity to explore the parallels between the two artists.

Emin and Schiele’s work share many similarities: both have drawn extensively upon personal issues and aspects of critical self-expression—especially when confronting their own bodies and sexuality.

Both artists were also viewed as rebellious largely due to their candid portrayal of controversial and taboo subject matters (see Tracey Emin Says Female Artists Can’t Have Kids).

Emin told Austrian daily Der Standard that showing her works beside Schiele’s would allow the expressionist to break “free from Austria […] so that he may be seen there again in a contemporary way.”

In an interview with Der Kurier Emin said “I’m showing [Schiele’s] works in a new way so that we can view them from a fresh perspective.”

Tracey Emin / Egon Schiele “Where I Want to Go” is on view at the Leopold Museum, Vienna, from April 24 – September 14. 

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