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Signed Print Edition of 200
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Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
Love Is What You Want II is a signed etching by Young British Artist, Tracey Emin. From her 2011 exhibition Love Is What You Want, this print features the words of the exhibition title and animates it with an uncanny illustration. At the centre of the work, there is an obscure illustration composed of sketchy lines and haphazard daubs of black ink. While the exact subject matter of this strange form is not fully legible, a small figure appears to be kneeling to the left of a larger phallic form. Above this unusual illustration are the words from which the work takes its title, and to the bottom left Emin’s message to the viewer, which reads: “Don’t wait until you’re 60 X”.
This poignant etching emerged from Emin’s retrospective exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in 2011. The exhibition was a grandiose celebration of Emin’s artistic career thus far, featuring works spanning decades and the many different media she has experimented with.
Love Is What You Want II is a print which is somewhat open to the viewer’s interpretation, given the obscurity of the sexual illustration at its centre. However, Emin’s direct address to the viewer in the written element of the work carries as unmistakable instruction to seize love and not let time steal it from you. Emin’s artwork has perpetually dealt with her dizzy love spells, her heartbreaks, and her childhood traumas. Despite how personal her works often are however, there is a universality to Emin’s work and her message to her viewers is simple and relatable.