Tracey Emin’s installation My Bed 1998 has returned to Tate Britain after first coming to public attention (and notoriety) when shown in the 1999 Turner Prize exhibition. German collector Count Christian Duerckheim bought the work at auction in 2014 and has agreed to lend it to the Tate for at least ten years, however this particular BP Spotlight will only be on show until June 2016.
I was at a point in my life when I was pretty low – I hadn’t got out of the bed for four days, I hadn’t eaten properly for maybe a few weeks and had been drinking like an absolute fish – Couldn’t sleep because I wasn’t eating and I went out and got absolutely paralytically drunk, came home and didn’t get out of bed for four days. I thought ‘If I don’t drink water soon, I’m going to die’ but I was in a weird nihilistic place where I thought if I die it doesn’t matter. But because I didn’t want to die I got up, and then fell over, and crawled to the kitchen and managed to get some tap water and then kinda crawled back. When I looked at the room I thought ‘Ughh!’ it was disgusting – it was so vile what I was looking at- it seemed so incredibly ugly. But then when I looked again I saw all of these things out of that room in a different place in my head and I thought – ‘That’s closed, that’s finished’ and then once I had transported that death bed and took it somewhere else in my head it became something incredibly beautiful.
Tracey Emin, The South Bank Show, 2001
For the BP Spotlight, Tate Britain is showing Emin’s My Bed alongside six of her recent figure drawings, as well as two oil paintings by Francis Bacon selected by Emin.
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