Tate Britain And Tracey Emin’s Boring Bed

I’d never go to London without visiting Tate Britain or Modern or both. Always something worth seeing. The main exhibit in May 2016 was “Painting With Light” which I have written a short info about here.

Then I explored a bit the new (2013) major renovation, after having been confused by the (upon thinking a bit, obvious) fact that the visitor has to go down to underground to access the new halls. It’s a very beautiful descent…




To one’s surprise, in the middle of the huge hall there appear silent dancers moving in and around visitors. It is Pablo Bronstein’s “Historical Dances In An Antique Setting” – here in a long exposure photo and in that antique setting:



As delightful these physical spaces and movements are as disappointing is it, at least in my view, to see Tracey Emin’s “My Bed” (1998) in a room where Francis Bacon’s paintings have been hung.

I find My Bed is unbearably navel-gazing and aesthetically boring. Bland as it appears my only inner reaction to seeing it ‘live’ was: And so what?

That Charles Saatchi bought it and later placed it in his private home and the fact that this piece was sold at Christie’s in 2014 at no less £ 2,5 million is little but yet another evidence of the absurdity and blaha branding nonsense of which there is too much at today’s art ‘market’ places.

The absurdity certainly runs through The Guardian’s recent, almost comic, conversation with Tracey Emin about its being shown at Tate Britain now:

“I think now people see the bed as a very different thing. With history and time, the bed now looks incredibly sweet and there’s this enchantment to it. I think people will see it differently as they see me differently. And there are things on that bed that now have a place in history. Even forms of contraception, the fact that I don’t have periods anymore, the fact that the belt that went round my waist now only fits around my thigh.

Wow, the fact that she doesn’t have periods anymore and has grown bigger around the waist “have a place in history”?

Get a life! Beyond doubt, personal matters, lives and experiences are a legitimate source of inspiration and can convey something of general human interest to the visitor. But self-obsession? The me only impulse? I doubt it?

And who would have known about My Bed if it had not been sold at such a ridiculous price and had been the object of so much – art irrelevant – petite journalism?

My – Boring – Bed © Jan Oberg 2016

At the Guardian link above, see her installing The Bed and talking about it and read the whole hilarious text.

As pathetic as it is, it’s worth a couple of minutes for what it says not about Emin’s place in history but perhaps rather about the Western world’s drift into ever more self-delusion and -deception.

Fortunately, there is so much else to see at wonderful Tate Britain. Such as Painting With Light and the incredibly rich collection. Go there and remember to plan enough time!



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