Went to see this exhibition today. It was perhaps the most crowded exhibition I've ever been to, especially considering the show has been open for three months.
Her famous embroidered blankets were the first pieces on display and it made me feel like they were items to be "gotten out of the way", as if people should see her most known work and not be distracted by the thought of wanting to see it later.
I suppose I think about retrospective type exhibitions in the same way as I regard the back of dvd cases for films you have never seen before. You see the screenshots and then you're filled with the anticipation of recognising the shots within the film. I think the same of knowing that famous pieces of artwork is in a show. Of course you want to see them, even if you know in general what they look like and have an idea of their meaning, because you need to confirm that they exist in some way.
My favorite pieces were some small paintings. I have always regarded Tracy Emins work as something great and insightful but the grace of her paintings surprised me a lot. They didn't have the hard visceral elements that her other work does. One painting looked to me like a woman lying with the back of a cat in the foreground. If I were very rich I would inquire about purchasing it so that I could look at it all day. It probably wasn't even a cat but that's why I liked it.
Although Tracy Emin is one of the most well respected contemporary artists in the world, a large portion of the general public seem to really disregard her work. I really hope that a lot of people who don't like her well known work went to see this show and maybe they would understand a bit more like I did.
I looked at a lot of the exhibition before watching the film she made about her traumatic abortion. Then all of the work was different and it wouldn't be the same again. It did horrify me and I was still horrified on the train.
The Age of Reason being the book I'm currently reading is a strange coincidence.