A discussion between myself and Tracey Emin, RA. (2014)
When creating work do you ever think about the viewer, or is it more about your view?
It doesn’t matter how good something looks.. If it does not make intellectual or emotional sense then I can’t live with it.
There is a thing which I call “fodder art” fodder art is the art which is made in between the real art. I mentally and physically destroy this stuff. I like to make leaps for myself.
Every thing I do is a dialog to myself. With out that I can’t even make work.
But saying all that …I’m also a visual snob. So I also have to be happy with how things look. I hope the message I’m trying to convey comes through.
Do you think that people knowing everything about you before they view your art work, does this enhance their viewing experiences or hinder it?? And which would you prefer, i.e. would you prefer people to not have any information about your life when they view your artwork?
Its a terrible hindrance.. As often people are not objective.
I have a number of reviews where the critics first reference the size of my breast. Others, where they demonise my accent. And then there are fans, who wont look at any thing objectively for totally different reasons.
A good example is when I represented the UK at the Venice biannual. The British press were very cruel and personal about me. Were as the foreign press were objective and reviews my work seriously.
Do you think people look at you art work in a more pure way if they don’t know about your background?
Yes I do
Were you initially scared to put your self so openly out there to the public, when you first started to make work about your life and experiences, or what this not an option?
I have always made work about myself and how I witness the world.
Right from the beginning, and when it was it’s most unfashionable. I’m doing nothing new. Rembrandt, Van Goth, Picasso, Egon Schiele, Frieda Karla, Katia Kollwitz, Louise Bourgeois. Just to name a few, all made work about how they felt.
I’m from a long traditional line.
In your opinion, what affect does the knowledge of the biography have on the work and how does this affect the way we appreciate some art works?
After some one is dead. We rely on every bit of information we can get, to put a picture together. But take Andy Warhol. So many conflicting things said about him, and he was such a showman. That it’s hard to really know who was the real Andy Warhol.
All we can do is look at his work and decide what feels accurate what corresponds to the person.
So much rubbish is written about me. There is an entire book of essays published by Thames and Hudson. 80% of it is incorrect. It’s other people’s opinions on me. People who don’t know me and never will. They have no idea how my mind works. People also like to own the dead.
Friedrich Nietzsche had his writings mutilated by his sister after his death because she had a political agenda. Turner had almost all his erotic works destroyed by Ruskin. Making the memory of Turner a sea scape artist !!!! While I’m alive I fight for my art. I invent it and I protect it. I have the first word and last word about every thing I do.