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No Substitute For Your Love

No Substitute For Your Love
Signed Print

Tracey Emin

Etching, 2003
Signed Print Edition of 300

Critical Review

Emin was born in south London in 1963, into the thick of a blooming technicolour age referred to as ‘The Swinging Sixties’. The period marked the beginning of a youth-driven cultural revolution, besides marking the birth of third-wave feminism.

Emin’s drawings, which lie at the heart of her most vulnerable artistic creations, are filled with allegories and manifest how outstanding of a draughtswoman she really is. She is an expressionist whose jagged lines convey her pure emotion, technical proficiency and genuine interest in her craft. These drawings are fierce, devoted and exquisitely constructed. There is a surprising playfulness lurking beneath even the most complex subject matter, as her art finds intellectual and cultural validation for her curious existential state.

Emin’s No Substitute for Your Love from 2003 was inspired by German painter and portraitist Hans Holbein's Portrait of a Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling from the late 1520s. The artist exchanges the painter’s Northern Renaissance style for her typically scratchy and hesitant lines. Moreover, Emin removes the human element, transforming her illustration into a nature study showcasing only the faint imprint of a squirrel surrounded by acorn branches. In her interpretation of a classic, Emin’s drawing functions as a memento of absent love.