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Tracey Emin’s new set of 8 lithographs depicting herself are incredibly personal auto portraits and revelatory. Viewed almost as an intimate tiny sketchbook of herself, a visual diary. These editions are great examples of Emin’s radical painting style which has been influenced by Expressionism. These works showcase universal feelings, raw and bittersweet emotions, which are Emin’s constant subject surrounded around the idea of love, loss, intimacy, and longing.
In making herself the subject of her work, and concentrating intensely on figuration, Emin creates bridges with the rich art-historical tradition of the female figure and female nudes. She shows strong emotive force in these pictures, as seen for example in the work of male painters Munch and Schiele, which Emin admires and studied throughout her artistic oeuvre.
Emin has said that “when I saw that these portraits did not look like me, I then realized I was actually drawing how I felt inside my head. An expression of myself in different moments, and this idea doing a few of them would be very honest and will be really free… the idea is how I am feeling.”
When referencing her previous portraiture practice, Emin said “I would put my face in the work and then I would black it out, it is too much for me to have me in the work, and now it is so weird, I am thinking that it is time for me to start having an entrance to my work. Because I have a good reason to do it. I should be celebrating me as a person and things that make me, me.”