Tracey Emin Unveils My Bed At Tate Britain Fifteen Years Later

Tracey Emin

The Turner Prize nominated My Bed, 1998, by Tracey Emin will be unveiled as one of the highlights of Tate Britain’s newly rehung displays, opening to the public on 31 March 2015. Emin’s bed is one of Britain’s most controversial works of modern art. It became a press sensation when it was shown in the 1999 Turner Prize exhibition, for which Emin was shortlisted. Over fifteen years later, it has now returned to Tate Britain where visitors will be able to see it for free as part of this latest display. It will be shown alongside a refresh of the galleries showing art from the 1970s to the present day, featuring major works by Gilbert & George, Anish Kapoor, Nicholas Pope and John Gerrard. 

To mark the occasion, Tracey Emin has gifted six of her recent figure drawings to the nation. The drawings are shown alongside My Bed together with two paintings by Francis Bacon, Study of a Dog 1952 and Reclining Woman 1961. The two works by Bacon were selected by Emin from Tate’s collection. The juxtaposition is intended to create a dialogue, with works by both artists dealing in different ways with turmoil and intense emotion.

My Bed was made in Tracey Emin’s Waterloo council flat in 1998. Referred to by the artist as an unconventional and uncompromising self-portrait through objects, it features the artist’s own bed covered in stained sheets, discarded condoms, underwear and empty bottles of alcohol. The piece gives a snapshot of the artist’s life after a traumatic relationship breakdown and was shortlisted for the 1999 Turner Prize. The Duerckheim Collection acquired the work in early July 2014 and it is now on loan to Tate for 10 years.

Following its display at Tate Britain, My Bed will be shown at Turner Contemporary in Margate, Emin’s home town, followed by Tate Liverpool. This will provide a unique opportunity for audiences outside London to see one of the most defining works of British art in recent years.

Tracey Emin’s My Bed 1998 opens Tuesday 31 March at Tate Britain and runs until June 2016.


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