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Tracey Emin: Self-Portrait As A Small Bird - Signed Print

Self-Portrait As A Small Bird
Signed Print

Tracey Emin


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Etching, 2002
Signed Print Edition of 200

Joe Syer

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Critical Review

British artist Tracey Emin was born in the far south of London in 1963. She grew up in the midst of a blooming technicolour age referred to as ‘The Swinging Sixties’. Her adolescent years were characterised by a youth-driven cultural revolution built on modern and self-indulgent ways of thinking.

Emin’s outstanding artistry is defined by her innate ability to convey emotion through the process of drawing. Her works on paper are technically accomplished and manifest her devotion to her craft. She is an expressionist whose jagged contours and rapid lines convey our anxiety at being human when confronted with the complexities of life. What better creature to envelop all of these touchstones than a bird.

Emin's Self-Portrait As A Small Bird from 2002 succeeds her It’s What I’d Like To Be from 1998, a delicate interpretation of the artist as a tiny deer. Here, the artist portrays herself as a nightingale perched on a blossoming branch. The creature bears Emin's signature crooked half-frown half-smile. Nightingales are known for their powerful and beautiful song, their melodic voice is considered to be a celestial vehicle for prayer. As far as their symbolism goes, nightingales also represent a calling on introspection and the awakening of hidden talents as they personify artistry.

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