ten years tracey emin
19 Oct 2002 - 26 Jan 2003

f there is one artist for whom life and art overlap, that is certainly Tracey Emin. For the last decade she has created a furore in often sensational ways with work in which an outspoken autobiographical element predominates.

This exhibition is a real test case, both for the artist and the Museum: is Emin's work "museal" enough? Is the Stedelijk, even though it is the first museum in the world to present a survey of her oeuvre, 'too late', or should it have waited until Emin became a 'modern classic'? Should artists like this be shown earlier in the new Stedelijk, or on the contrary, later? What is certain is that a wide public will have a chance to become acquainted with the work of this famous 'Young British Artist'.

The Stedelijk is continuing a tradition with this exhibition, which follows the acquisition of a neon work by Emin earlier this year. The Museum has frequently followed developments in British art, which often has a personal and frank character. For years now Gilbert & George, for instance, have been amply represented in the Stedelijk collection. Among the works added to the collection over the last decade were David Robilliard's painted cries from the heart, and recently also the strongly personally-coloured photography of Sam Taylor Wood. In the visual artists, Emin is one of the artists who has most strongly defined the image of this genre over the last decade. It began with her controversial performances in which, among other things, she had herself locked in naked in order to paint a series of works, straight from the heart. The installation which resulted from this, Exorcism of the Last Painting I ever made (1997), is included in this overview. Her youth and her explorations in the area of sex are amply present in various works, including the controversial installation Everyone I have ever slept with. The work includes the names of everyone with whom Emin ever shared a bed.

Emin's oeuvre cannot be seen apart from the course of her life. Personal events are processed into installations, performances, video works, textile text works, neons, prints, photographs and drawings. But Emin is also the artist who, together with her colleague Sarah Lucas, ran a shop for a long period in 1993 with self-made objects. Later she opened the Tracey Emin Museum, where, as well as being director and guard, she was also the only one to show. She shut it down when too many art academy classes came on tour, and it gradually was becoming too far outside "ordinary" life.

Emin's presence will be felt particularly in the eight video works being shown. Her text works, in the form of quilts and neons, will also be emphatically present. Intimate drawings with a personal signature betray her fascination for Munch and Schiele.

With the opening of Ten Years Tracey Emin, the Stedelijk completes its closing programme with a compelling ensemble of exhibitions. In addition to the Emin survey a much wider range of modern art is being offered: classic modern (Colin McCahon), photography (the Bechers), contemporary (Ackermann) and Amsterdam Municipal Art Acquisitions For the present, there is insufficient space to combine an exhibition programme like this with a fine presentation of the Stedelijk's own collection. That space will become available when the Museum's expansion plans are realised.

Ten Years Tracey Emin will open on Friday, October 18, at 5:00 p.m., in the presence of the artist.

A Stedelijk Museum Cahier with an introduction by Rudi Fuchs will appear to accompany the exhibition (14,00 euro bilingual Dutch/English)An article on Tracey Emin by Sarah Kent appeared in the Stedelijk Museum Bulletin, Nr. 5, 2002 (3,00 euro Dutch/English)