Tracey Emin Presents First Asia Solo Show in Hong Kong

Emin delivers new works and familiar antics.

Tracey Emin at the Leopold Museum, Vienna in September 2015. Photo: JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

Among the many Hong Kong gallery openings timed to coincide with the launch of Art Basel in Hong Kong is “I Cried Because I Love You,” British artist Tracey Emin‘s first solo exhibition in greater China. The exhibition will be Emin’s last before she takes a one year sabbatical to focus on her work.

Spread across two spaces—Hong Kong’s White Cube and Lehmann Maupin galleries—the exhibition showcases the diversity of Emin’s practice, and includes the artist’s painting, embroidery, tapestry, and neon works.

Addressing the unusual step of working with two competing galleries simultaneously, Emin said in the exhibition catalogue. “It’s about me being able to not have to define myself with a gallery, within a space, within a country.”

Tracey Emin, "I Cried Because I Love You" installation view at Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong. Photo: Kitmin Lee, courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin and White Cube

Tracey Emin, “I Cried Because I Love You” installation view at Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong. Photo: Kitmin Lee, courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin and White Cube

Thematically, Emin addresses familiar, intimately autobiographical themes of emotional states which she examines in typical honesty. Yet despite being deeply personal, the work remains universal and relatable. At the same time, the work also carries with it an oddball undertone that seems to accompany all of Emin’s projects.

For example, Emin’s new works are reportedly influenced by a large stone outside outside her studio in the south of France, which she is said to have “married” in a bizarre ceremony documented in a series of drawings.

“I thought the stone is so majestic and beautiful, I really do love the stone,” she said at a news conference according to the SCMP. “And then I thought about the way I love, how I pour love into things and people, whatever it is, passionately, but not expecting it to be returned either. I just accept that’s the way it is, it’s just me who gives. The stone becomes a metaphor for my feeling.”

Tracey Emin, "I Cried Because I Love You" Installation view at Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong. Photo: Kitmin Lee, courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin and White Cube.

Tracey Emin, “I Cried Because I Love You” Installation view at Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong. Photo: Kitmin Lee, courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin and White Cube.

Then there’s a bizarre interview she gave to SCMP ahead of the show: The artist told a baffled reporter “Please don’t do the Hong Kong thing on me and give me information from 20 years ago that I said.” The reporter, who had asked Emin about comments made four year ago—in 2012—about the differences between the studio practice of male and female artists, was understandably taken aback.

Despite Emin’s left-field antics—or maybe because of them—her market in Asia is growing. Irene Bradbury of White Cube Hong Kong told France24, “She’s made her mark out here. Collectors become more knowledgable and attuned to who they like, who they want to follow […] from western galleries, alongside great artists that are developing here.”


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