Amid the news that its two London gallery spaces are going to physically reopen, White Cube has announced a new online show by Tracey Emin of works created at her East End home during the weeks of lockdown. ‘I Thrive on Solitude’ is a series of intimate small-scale paintings, reflecting the circumscription of working at home. Like a lot of Emin’s works, the collection looks at the contradictions of creating art within a personal, domestic environment.
Accompanying photos taken by Emin show her work table, opposite a fireplace in her London house: a resolutely un-technological set-up that could have existed any time in the last two centuries. The works too, are shot through with reflection on the past engendered by being alone. One painting is called ‘My Mums Ashes and the Ghost of Docket’, a reference to her beloved cat, who died earlier this year and who features frequently in her work.
Emin says of the show, ‘People keep asking how I am. Nine weeks alone is very easy… ten years alone is harder. I thrive on solitude. I am an artist, I see the world in a very singular way. The more isolation, the more clarity I have. It may be warped and unreal, but it’s mine. I don’t want the world to suffer but I want to stay in my bubble of happiness and well being. I want to take this feeling with me, a clear slow positive energy. I want to live.’
The show also marks the departure of the Turner Prize-winner from London, after nearly 20 years living in Spitalfields. Like a lot of us right now, Tracey Emin has found 2020 to be a turning point.
‘I Thrive on Solitude’ runs online at White Cube, Mon Jun 15-Aug 2. Free.
When will London’s art galleries reopen? Find out here.
Meanwhile, do a virtual tour of some of the capital’s most famous art spaces.