Unmade bed, Tracey Emin’s iconic Turner Prize nominated work, goes under the hammer at Christie’s London, in July. The installation has been consigned by Charles Saatchi who is selling the work to raise money for his Gallery in Chelsea. The sculpture is expected to fetch around £1 million (1.2 million euros, $1.7 million) in the sale.
“My Bed”,is perhaps the work that made Emin’s career. She was shortlisted for the 1999 Turner Prize but lost out to the Oscar winner Steve McQueen, who directed “12 Years a Slave”. It is quite often a misconception that Emin won the prize because of her ability to generate press. ‘Unmade Bed’ was Emin’s first readymade artwork. It displays all the hallmarks and detritus of a debauched couple of weeks where she had stayed in bed drinking, fucking, smoking, eating and sleeping, all in a state of emotional flux and dysfunctional crisis. Looking back on this scene, Emin felt appalled yet fascinated by what it had become. She shipped the bed in its entirety to Japan for an exhibition, installing it next to a pair of chained-up suitcases and a hangman’s noose which served to emphasise the painful isolation and entrapment of that whole episode.
Born in 1963, Tracey Emin lives and works in London. In 2007, Emin represented Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale with her exhibition Borrowed Light and was made a Royal Academician. In 2008 Emin had her first major retrospective Twenty Years at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh which toured to CAC, Malaga (2008) and Kunstmuseum Bern (2009). Emin had a major survey exhibition Love Is What You Want at the Hayward Gallery (2011) and a solo exhibition at Turner Contemporary, Margate (2012). A touring exhibition of her films was organised by MALBA, Buenos Aires (2012). In 2010, Emin collaborated with Louise Bourgeois on a suite of works on paper, entitled ‘Do Not Abandon Me’ and in 2011 she became the Royal Academy’s Professor of Drawing.
In the past Charles Saatchi has been known to make and break the careers of mid-career artist’s. He has been collecting as well as dealing in art since the 1980’s. His sale of artist’s work such as Damien Hirst has often often made headlines. The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (Shark in Tank) was perhaps the highest profile sale from his collection. It was an artwork created in 1991 by Hirst a leading member of the “Young British Artists” (or YBA). It consists of a tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde in a vitrine. It was originally commissioned in 1991 by Charles Saatchi, who sold it in 2004, to Steven A. Cohen for $8 million.