'I Need Art Like I Need God': Neal Brown Discusses the Spiritual in the Work of Tracey Emin.
Art and Christianity 2011, Autumn, 67
Art and Christianity
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Religious and spiritual belief have often been invoked by Tracey Emin in her work, which contains statements of personal alignment with a variety of concepts of spiritual, religious, magico-religious and supernatural power. Although her negotiations of faith vary in their directness of expression, there is an emphasis on ideas of affliction, death and afterlife, expressed through ceremonial, contemplative ritual. Her use of relic objects associated with the dead--pieces of fabric, for example--are highly charged with symbolic value, and are employed in a kind of primal process, involving a coming-to-terms with separation, and the reincorporation of feelings into art. Whether the vast endeavour of her early crucifixion monoprints, her presentation of the cigarette packet clutched by her uncle when he died, or the paranormal quest that can be seen in Tacimin--Can You Hear Me?, 1997, Emin's work asserts the importance of presence after death, and explores ideas of reincarnation. The term 'contemporary art' is in many ways a construct, describing certain kinds of art-making as much as referring to art being made 'recently' or 'now'. Defined by consensus, it is usually thought of as being made by more experimental kinds of artists. Where such art has addressed the religious and the spiritual, these have usually been characterised (positively) in terms of abstraction and minimalism, and (negatively), through various forms of subversion. Although made by people of all nationalities in many different countries, contemporary art has originated in its principal forms in the west, and the religious and art-historical iconography informing it is usually a Judaeo-Christian one. This, therefore, becomes the template most commonly evoked whenever religion is referred to in art, especially when religion is to suffer rejective insult--as it so often has, from Francis Bacon's Screaming Popes series of paintings, to Andres Serrano's Piss Christ, 1987.
- Category: Performing Arts
- Published: Sep 22, 2011
- Publisher: ACE Trust
- Seller: The Gale Group, Inc.
- Print Length: 10 Pages
- Language: English