“fuck me while I’m sleeping”

(Tracey Emin, Why I never became a dancer, 1995, © Tracey Emin)

Tonight is the eve of Tracey Emin’s exhibition, Love is What you Want, last day at the Hayward Gallery in London, and as she’s already had so much to do with the founding of Hunch of Mutton, I thought we’d revisit some of the ever awe inspiring material from the piece of work that is Tracey Emin.

My first recollection were the politically insane remarks she made, recounted ever so well by Mark Brown for the Guardian back in May. But just to highlight:

“And remember, Tory people are massive collectors of the arts. For a lot of my friends, who think I’m crazy voting for the Tories – I want to know who buys their work? Who are the biggest philanthropists? I promise you, it’s not Labour voters.”

And even more fun were the 248 comments posted in less then 48 hours to the Guardian’s website:

– Dross-peddler.
– My name was on that tent. I shagged her.
– Does this make tracey a ‘fuckist’?

But what I found really interesting was the outrage over what she told John Humphrys in a recorded interview for promotion of the exhibition: that she’d prefer her epitaph to read ‘fuck me while I’m sleeping’, describing it as an ‘irreverent jokey way’ of her desire for her work to live on after she’s gone.

I was curious about this phrase – it seemed too coined, too polished as it rolled out of her mouth during the interview to be on the spot crafted just for John, and alas, it isn’t. She’s been refining it for almost 20 years. I discovered this 1997 article in the Independent of interviews between Sarah Lucas and Tracey Emin each talking about how they met, as well as how Tracey can “get on my tits” (well said Sarah) and Sarah’s “bolshy” personality. But at some point in the mid-nineties, Tracey tells Sarah her preferred, and now ever perpetuated epitaph. A little later, Sarah produced it as tombstone for an exhibition, which promptly lead to a screaming match of sorts between the two over ownership.

Speaking of Screaming:

That’s Tracey’s, er, commemorative cat bowl, on sale exclusively at Selfridges. Cats seem to play a dominant role in Tracey’s work. Double back to that video with John Humphry’s here – kitty’s in the hayward too.

  1. Jason said:

    Great start, and I’ll be checking back for more! Great to see some definitive opinions being out out there!

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