Tracey Emin’s Turner Prize Nominated Unmade Bed Fetches £2.5m At Christie’s

Tracey Emin’s Turner Prize nominated ‘My Bed’ installation has sold at Christie’s, London salesroom tonight for £2.5m (including commission), a record for the artist. The sculpture was consigned by Charles Saatchi to raise money for his Gallery’s education programme. The artwork was estimated to fetch between £800,000 to $1.5 million in the sale. It was reported that her gallerist Jay Jopling, founder of the White Cube gallery was the buyer. Emin, 50, who was granted a CBE in the New Year Honours list in 2012, smiled as she left the auction after her piece was sold.

“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.

Photo: © Artlyst 2014

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