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Tracey Emin is a British artist who emerged in the 1980s, during the "Young British Artists" movement. She is noted for her provocative and controversial pieces, including "Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995," "My Bed" and "The Last Thing I Said To You is Don't Leave Me Here."
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Tracey Emin, an artist of British Romani and Turkish Cypriot origin, has been noted for her provocative and sexually explicit work for decades. Emin emerged in the late 1980s, during the "Young British Artists" movement, with controversial pieces such as "Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995," "My Bed" and "The Last Thing I Said To You is Don't Leave Me Here." Throughout her career, she has produced a variety of work ranging from paintings and textiles to sculpture and video,
many of which reflect her troubled childhood and teenage years. In 2007, Emin was inducted into the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and in 2011, she was appointed as a professor of drawing.
Tracey Emin was born on July 3, 1963 in Croydon, South London, England, to parents of British Romani and Turkish Cypriot descent. Emin grew up in Margate, in the Thanet district of East Kent, England, along with twin brother Paul. Her father owned the Hotel International in Margate, but when the business failed, the family suffered financially. She had some troubled times during her adolescence including being raped at the age of 13, an event that influenced much of her later artwork. Emin became pregnant when she was 18, and underwent an abortion.
After a troubled childhood and adolescenc, Emin decided to study fashion at the Medway College of Design in 1980. There, she met boyfriend Billy Childish, who led her to become a member of The Medway Poets, an English punk-based performance art group in Medway, North Kent. After working for several years as an administrator for Hangman Books, which specialized in Children's poetry, Emin decided to pursue a career in art. She graduated from Maidstone College of Art in 1986 and moved to London, where she earned a Master of Arts degree in painting from the Royal College of Art in 1989. She also studied modern philosophy for a brief period at Birkbeck, University of London.
In 1993, with fellow artist Sarah Lucas, Emin opened "The Shop" in Bethnal Green, located on London's East End. There, she sold her pieces and asked for investments in her artwork, and soon met her future art dealer, Jay Jopling. In 1994, Emin had her first solo show, "My Major Retrospective," at the White Cube art gallery in London. The autobiographical exhibit consisted of photographs, pictures of earlier paintings and other personal objects, including a pack of cigarettes an uncle was holding when he was killed in a car crash. This public display of Emin's intimate life details soon became a trademark of her work.
Emin rose to fame with her 1995 piece titled "Everyone I have Ever Slept With 1963-1995," a blue tent appliqued with several names in needlework. The piece was later shown at the 1997 "Sensation" exhibit at the Royal Academy in London, and met with mixed reactions. In 1997, Emin, relatively unknown at the time, made headlines when she appeared intoxicated in a television interview, in which she spoke about recipients of the esteemed Turner Prize.
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