Tracey Emin claims that she has been “overlooked” as an artist and that people have not understood the seriousness of her work.
The 58-year-old shot to fame and fortune in the 90s with his applied tent, Everyone I Have Ever Sleept With 1963-1995, and has been in the spotlight ever since. But she said people have not understood the “seriousness” of her art.
Instead, she told BBC Radio 4’s This Cultural Life that she was written off as a “narcissistic, insane, screaming banshee”.
Her most recent exhibitions include a 2018 neon sign at St Pancras station in London that reads “I want my time with you”, and last year her paintings, neons and sculptures were exhibited alongside Edvard Munch’s paintings at the Royal Academy.
Asked if her painting had been overlooked, she said: “No, I think I have been overlooked. I think they just thought I was some kind of narcissistic, insane, screaming banshee. ”
In the interview to be broadcast on Saturday night, Emin said that life as an artist is “really lonely”.
“You can’t be an artist hanging out at a giant party, it’s never going to work,” she said.
“There’s a part of you that has to go deep inside, like I say, ‘inside the cave,’ and if you don’t go into the cave, you’re never going to make any art. You have to be able to stand and see yourself for to be able to make art. ”
Last year, she was diagnosed with bladder cancer, but after undergoing a series of surgeries, she announced in April that it was gone.
On her recovery, she said her life was saved by medical science – and love, and said she fell in love just before she was diagnosed with cancer.
“My surgeon was lovely,” she said. “A robot actually performed my whole operation, which is quite incredible. But I think love saved me. I really think love saved me this time, not art. I fell in love, just before I found out, that I had cancer. “
Emin also recounted how a chance encounter with David Bowie at a Lebanese restaurant in Kensington in 1996 led her to become friends with the late musician.
“Someone leaned over the table and said, ‘I’m very sorry to interrupt, my name is David and I just want to say how much I love your work.’ And I looked up and David Bowie looked at me and I said, ‘In the same way,’ ”she said.
“And we became friends. It was just amazing that the only person I’ve ever been a huge starstruck fan of, I became friends with.”