Culture: Tracey Emin / Edvard Munch

Hi Everyone! I hope you all had a positive week 🙂

I am extremely excited that England (I am not sure whether the rest of the UK is doing the same) is opening back their museums and art galleries the week commencing the 17th May. I have really missed my weekends out in London, going to galleries and enjoying that feeling of seeing art. It was a chance for me to enjoy time alone and lost in my thoughts.

I am slightly wary that most exhibitions will be very busy, so as I plan out the rest of the year and which exhibitions to visit, the Art Fund has a great list of online exhibitions that are available! I am going to practising my art and culture writing by attending these virtual exhibitions. The great thing about this is that you do not have to be in the UK to enjoy the experience and I hoping readings across the world will join me on these virtual tours!

As the title of this posts suggests, I am going to revitalise my art journey with a virtual tour at the Royal Academy for their exhibition on ‘Tracey Emin / Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul’. Edvard Munch does not need much introduction, as he is the infamous Norwegian Expressionist who painted The Scream. I had previously attended an exhibition on Edvard Munch at the British Museum, which you can read here.

Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin’s name did not ring a bell when I first noticed this exhibition at the Royal Academy; until I did a little digging, when I realised she was the artist behind “My Bed, 1998“, this was a readymade installation, consisting of her own unmade dirty bed, in which she had spent several weeks drinking, smoking, eating, sleeping and having sexual intercourse while undergoing a period of severe emotional flux. The artwork featured used condoms and blood-stained underwear. I recall seeing this art piece when I was on a Summer school trip. Admittedly, I was not into Art back then, but this piece is unforgettable.

Tracey Emin was made a Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts in 2007. In becoming a member of the Royal Academy Emin joined an elite group of artists that includes David Hockney, Peter Blake, Anthony Caro and Alison Wilding. In my opinion, she is certainly deserving.

Tracey Emin & Edvard Munch

In an interview by Anna McNay for the Art Fund, Tracey Emin discusses her lifelong “friend in art” and more about the creation of this joint exhibition at the Royal Academy. Through her words, you can feel the admiration of his works, particularly how Munch painted women and his search for love.

The soul just drifts around, looking for a soulmate. The soul doesn’t just want the boy or girl next door; it is looking for eternal love. Munch was looking for that. He was trying to find that within his work, within his life, within the way he lived.

Tracey Emin

For the exhibition, she spent a lot of time in Oslo, going through the archives of Munch’s work on on paper, watercolours, notebooks, sketchbooks, his clothes, his old paints, his drinks cabinet, his furniture. A rare opportunity for a true fan. She beautifully explains her thought process and internal dialogue she had with Munch in selecting watercolours and paintings for the exhibition; you feel as if it is a true collaboration between the two artists.

Exhibition Review

The video itself is 20 minutes long and there is very eerie background music that accompanies it, which makes it an odd viewing experience. I am not sure whether I would have chosen that music. Interestingly enough there is no talking so it made the whole video very surreal. That aside, I enjoyed being able to visit the exhibition virtually and in the comfort of my own home! For those who want a shorter version, the Royal Academy has a video of Emin introducing the exhibition, which is really worth watching.

I think the highlight of the show is the small watercolour nude paintings by Edvard Munch. I loved the colours he used and the light brushwork. When looking at Munch’s painting, there is a sense of quiet and tranquillity like a spring breeze. However, as the video continues, there is an increasing “edge” to his paintings. The colours are bolder and stronger, you see more features of women’s faces, there is more angst, more sadness.

In most of Emin’s work, most of her paintings capture despair and anguish. They are incredibly powerful and also chaotic. In true Emin’s style, her work is certainly provocative – lookout for the white neon lights 7 mins 50 seconds into the video. Her use of red paint also tells me of her heartbreak and the pain that comes with loneliness. Let’s just say, this is not an uplifting exhibition!

It feels so great to be writing about art again. I hope you enjoyed the post and if you do the virtual tour, I would love to hear what you thought in the comments below!

With Sweet and Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

P.S. I have booked my tickets to see “David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring Normandy, 2020” for the 13th June – can’t wait to share more then!

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