Tracey Emin – She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea – Margate Exhibition Review


Like most people my earliest memory of Tracy Emin’s work and most prominent is the unmade bed from 1999.

As time went on I discovered she studied in Medway at what is now known as UCA, and in the last few years she has held various exhibitions in the South East. On a recent visit to Margate I felt I couldn’t miss a walk around the Turner gallery to check out her current exhibition.

Something that I love is Emin’s neon writing work as it shows her variety of creativity. Unfortunately only two neon pieces make an appearance in this exhibition. Reflecting very much on her life’s history the work on display is very expressive with some containing text that gives extra input into the concept behind the piece.

My favourite piece was called furniture. It was part of a series of paintings that were of the same theme, but I felt they had an added depth to them compared to the other pieces in the exhibition as a whole. I do really like the blue ink on canvas, and this is the form of most of her pieces in the exhibition.

The majority of work on display were inspired by Turners female nudes, but personally I felt they lacked the warmth of an artist trying to capture the bodily form of a female. Of course Emin is often very open about her sexuality and this is nothing new, but I felt from the work that she captured an element of disappointment within her own sexuality, which of course was not really Turners aim in his erotic paintings – his nude paintings were often termed as beautiful. If you want an interesting read on that subject see “A Censorship story Goes Up In Smoke“.

A painting by Turner.

She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea, Tracey Emin.

There are a lot of repeats in the exhibition, which unfortunately I feel shows a lack of imagination in regards to a theme, and baring in mind 3 large rooms of the Turner gallery are taken up with repeat imagery until September, I can’t help but feel disappointed for the local art scene. I realise that a big name will attract numbers but I wonder how other artists will get to reach a big name status if so much space is taken up by one artist in what I feel should be a gallery for creatives no matter how big their audience.

I would be interested to hear how others feel about the exhibition…

Natasha Steer

Area: UK Britain East of England East Midlands London North East North West Yorkshire Scotland South East South West Wales West Midlands

2 thoughts on “Tracey Emin – She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea – Margate Exhibition Review

  1. While I understood a lot of what Emin was trying to convey in the exhibition, I felt the pictures themselves had been churned out (the fact they were all painted using the same blue paint reinforces this: I imagine Emin waiting until the last minute to start anything for the gallery and realising as she begins that she has run out of every other colour, but it’s Sunday, and all the art supply shops are closed.)

    The most interesting pieces, for me personally, were the paintings that Emin had written things on and these pieces had more effect on me, even though they were spelling out very obviously the theme of the exhibition. However, I still found these pieces lacking, for this reason: everyday the website ‘PostSecret’ displays pictures with similar sentiments, with a whole range of pictures using different media and not just the same repeated, sketchily drawn nudes Emin utilises in this exhibition.

  2. I found the exhibition dissappointing, like you i thought there were far too many repeats, same old drawing over and over again, about the same old subject that she’s been using forever now. the best work in the show was rodin’s drawings and they made her efforts look even sillier.

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