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Tracey Emin: About To Fly - Signed Print

About To Fly
Signed Print

Tracey Emin


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Etching, 2014
Signed Print Edition of 200

Joe Syer

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Critical Review

Raised in the seaside town of Margate, seagulls would have been a constant presence in Emin’s youth. The bird has also been an important motif throughout her artistic career, and was the primary subject of her 2004 plaster work In My Family When Someone Dies They Are Cremated And Their Ashes Are Thrown Across The Sea. For Emin, seagulls are equated with family, togetherness, and reminiscences of her youth in Margate.

Within this particular work, the seagull is depicted alone, and Emin’s expressive mark-making gives the bird a sense of motion. The bird itself, which Emin’s title describes as “about to fly”, is potentially a foil for Emin herself. Like the seagull she depicts, Emin too was ready to fledge the nest of Margate, the site of her distressed adolescent years, and escaped to London at the young age of fifteen.

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