Tracey Emin’s pivotal work ‘Exorcism of the Last Painting I Ever Made’ is to be sold at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction, London on 11th February 2015.
Executed in 1996 the work documents a moment of breakthrough within Emin’s oeuvre, witnessing an impassioned reengagement with her painting and drawing practice after a six-year hiatus from painting that followed the completion of her MA at the Royal College of Art. Over a three week period, in a groundbreaking act of catharsis, Emin launched herself into a frenetic artistic outpouring, filling streams of canvas and paper as she sought to dispel the fear and anxiety she had come to associate with painting. Working completely naked, she laid bare her entire artistic make-up, reinvigorating the visceral connection between her body and her art. Amidst candid diaristic notations and raw, self-reflective imagery, Emin forged expressive tributes to the grand canon of painters and draughtsmen that had nourished her artistic development. Paying homage to artists including Edvard Munch, Egon Schiele and Yves Klein, the resulting assemblage constitutes a tour de force of her aesthetic outlook. Comprising rich painterly abstractions, sketched charcoal nudes and textual declarations evocative of her fabric and neon works, it represents a deeply personal interrogation of her artistic orientation. Each paper and canvas records the traces of Emin’s hand and body as she attempted to cast off her artistic inhibitions, interweaving her own physicality with elegiac stories from her past and those drawn from the history of modern art. Emin’s paintings and drawings have since come to represent one of the most significant strands of her oeuvre, culminating in her appointment as Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 2011. More recently, these media have witnessed a great resurgence in her practice, and in April this year, the Leopold Museum in Vienna will showcase a new body of her work in the major exhibition Tracey Emin – Egon Schiele: Where I Want To Go, placing her practice in dialogue with that of the great Expressionist master. In Exorcism of the Last Painting I Ever Made, we witness the critical moment of renaissance that paved the way for Emin’s exceptional contribution to the medium, now spanning over nearly two decades.
The work comprises of 12 paintings, 7 body paintings, 79 works on paper, 7 letters, numerous painted items, art supplies, personal items, 1 bed and mattress and various other items of furniture, 1 radio and CD player, 9 music CDs, various newspapers and magazines and numerous kitchen and food supplies.
All works are being displayed, framed and formally hung, at Christie’s ahead of the sale.