Dog Brains is a signed screen print produced in 2000 by Tracey Emin from the Nude Self-Portraits collection. Emin draws the viewer in with an expansive blank white background, with her evocative self-portrait loosely sketched in magenta at the centre of the composition. The witty yet disturbing words “Dog Brains” are written out in Emin’s signature handwriting next to the nude figure wearing towering high heels.
A great example of Emin’s seminal Nude Self-Portraits, Dog Brains is just one of some 800 drawings that form an integral part of her body of work. Self-referential, confessional and intensely intimate, Emin has described this particular work as coming from “a series of self-portraits about being drunk”. In her own words, “Dog Brains has got humour. It looks like a bit of a tragic, spindly, pissed figure. I’d want people to feel empathy. I want women to say, “Yeah, I know how that feels.”
Emin’s spindly and tragic self-portrait is therefore not only relatable in its subject matter, but appeals to a primarily female audience through her brutally honest depiction of her drunk self. Famously inspired by Egon Schiele, Emin depicts herself with a spontaneous and fluid use of line, mirroring the dizzying effects of alcohol.