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Sometimes The Dress Is Worth More Than The Money

Sometimes The Dress Is Worth More Than The Money
Signed Print

Tracey Emin

Lithograph
Signed Print Edition of 2000

Critical Review

In recent years, Tracey Emin’s video artworks have captured much critical attention, reviving both scholarly and public interest for the enfant terrible of British contemporary art. Sometimes The Dress Is Worth More Than The Money is perhaps Emin’s most well-known and acclaimed piece of video art. The work was initially made in 2001, and has since been exhibited in notorious contemporary art galleries like White Cube, that dedicated an entire night to screening 14 of Emin’s films, and was presented recently at Xavier Hufkens, as part of Tracey Emin, Video Works, 1995-2017, the most comprehensive retrospective exhibition on Emin’s video works and films.

In the video, Emin runs throughout a bare and barren deserted landscape dressed in a vaporous white wedding gown. As she runs, a Spaghetti-Western soundtrack plays in the background, situating the video in a dialogue with early Hollywood cinema. Emin seems to be running away from her wedding, rebelling against the institution of marriage, a notion that is reinforced by the ironic choice of the title. As art critic David Rimanelli remarked, Emin’s work confronts societal conventions and commits numerous infractions of what is considered feminine and polite, unapologetically asserting herself regardless of the expectations placed on her body.