Grazia Daily catches up with Tracey Emin!

17 May 2011

Due to her giant retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, Love is What you Want (her first solo show of its kind in London) Tracey Emin hosted a mini private view for some very serious, chin-stroking Art journalists . . .  AND! Grazia Daily! The exhibition is absolutely beautiful and also quite moving as Emin has always used herself and her own personal experiences, however harrowing, as her muse. To spend time looking at her monograph drawings, or her enormous appliqued autobiographical quilts or the little vitrines containing precious artefacts from her life plus handwritten commentaries can stir up powerful and unexpected feelings in the viewer.

So, all in all, if you can get down to London this summer, then we strongly recommend you pay a visit to the Hayward Gallery on the Southbank to get a bit more insight into the fascinating artist that Tracey is, and find out some things you didn’t already know from the media coverage of her.

Here, she answers questions from the press:

Q: Do you sew all your blankets and artworks yourself?

Tracey Emin: No I don’t, not any more. I have a team of about six stitchers and they work for me. However, I don’t get anyone to do any sewing that I couldn’t manage myself. I do know how to do all the stiches they do – so I could make all the pieces myself, but if I did I would be a much slower artist.

In fact – it’s really very nice that I have people to sew for me. I absolutely envy my sewers because they have a great time. For example, when I am going off to something like this or a meeting with the Prime Minister I see them all sat in a group, stitching away and giggling to each other and it’s a very nice occupation for them.


Q: You have put so much personal of yourself into your art. Is there anything of yourself you wouldn’t put into your art?

TE: Yes, there are loads of things I wouldn’t put into my art. I’m a little bit embarrassed about the

tampons! They are from a piece I made about 12 years ago. When we were unpacking those from the case the other night I was a bit shocked and thought – blimey! There aren’t going to be many more of these things kicking around. There are lots of things I wouldn’t put in my work. There are a lot of things that I did earlier in my career I wouldn’t do now. Not because I don’t have the confidence, but more because now I know the repercussions of doing that. Nowadays I would never use people’s names in my art either because I know what can happen when you do that. I’m still very open, but I keep I a little bit to myself.


At this point, Grazia Daily needed to find out about Tracey's fashion credentials, having recently exhibited her work for Louis Vuitton in Paris before setting up an exhibition in their shop in London . . .

Grazia Daily: What’s the connection between you and Louis Vuitton? Is it nice to be working with a handbag company?

TE: Well, first of all I wouldn’t say it was a handbag company. Far from it. Louis Vuitton do a great deal for the arts – they have a massive foundation in France, they have a gallery of contemporary art in Paris and their Bond St store is full of art – and if you go there at the moment, you can see my art!

They are not a handbag company, but at the very highest level of retail, of luxury and they produce not merely bags but very wonderful, beautiful objects. And they have put a substantial amount of money into this show, as well as other private investors. So I’m really grateful for that.

Yikes Tracey! That's us told then!

For more information about the exhibition, click HERE!  

Meanwhile – over at the Louis Vuitton store on Bond Street, they have dedicated their Librarie space to an insight into Tracey’s life, and the artists and writers who have inspired her. Upstairs in the first floor exhibition space there are specially curated works of her art to peruse. Should you wish to purchase a piece of Tracey’s oeuvre, a number of limited edition (of 50) silk scarves entitled Sex 21 Sydney are for sale. See our gallery below for a teaser of the Vuitton exhibition space.

- Naomi Attwood


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