A huge former warehouse south of the river Thames, lit by an infinite amount of neon lights is the perfect location for Emin’s new artwork. Emin is her own muse and her current work is born out of pain and longing: longing for love, longing for friendship, yearning for human touch. The pieces are minimal but heart-breaking, her paintings are oozing pain. I find her artwork a very uncomfortable, heart-wrenching sight, it felt like I was being admitted into the artist’s mind, I felt like I was watching Emin tearing her own body to pieces. It feels like cannibalistic viewing, each canvas dripping blood and pain. I was expecting the trendy crowd walking the gallery to burst out crying at any time. I pictured people walking around with tears dripping down their cheeks, mascara streaming from everybody’s eyes. The 3 oversized, wringing human sculptures wallowing in pain were particularly poignant though during my visit I was upset by one particular viewer posing for a photo mimicking the mother’s tormented stance with a cheeky smile on his face, totally unmoved. I could not believe the lack of empathy, the cynicism I was witnessing,
I could not face the full video on abortion featuring Tracey Emin’s younger, tormented self but I was moved by the silent stark video centred around Emin’s mother’s ashes. Just recently Emin lost her mother, her partner in crime, her accomplice, Emin and her mother a couple of outsiders and impostors in a stuffy, rich, fake art world. The video revolves around the ashes urn and it is frank and direct in its simplicity, sombre and moving, I felt the loss as if it was mine. It is intense, voyeuristic viewing, I just felt like I was intruding on a very painful, very private affair.
White Cube Gallery 2 March 2019