Critics’ Picks

View of “Tracey Emin: Waiting to Love,” 2015.

View of “Tracey Emin: Waiting to Love,” 2015.

Rome

Tracey Emin

Galleria Lorcan O'Neill
Vicolo dei Catinari 3
May 9–September 5, 2015

“Waiting to Love,” Tracey Emin’s first solo exhibition at Lorcan O’Neill’s new Rome gallery, is an homage to real love. The show presents twenty-four works—all making their debut—including sculpture, neon installations, embroideries, gouaches, and three large acrylic paintings on canvas. The paintings reactivate a relationship with the medium that the artist had consciously suspended in 2007, after her exhibition in the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale. These new pieces particularly bear witness to Emin’s long history with the reappropriation of a visual language, which, as in her other works, narrates scenes of life and sexuality while dismantling and subjectifying the tradition of the female nude.

In the main gallery, a neon work offering the phrase “The More of You the More I Love You” reigns over the paintings and three white bronze bas-reliefs of heroic and vulnerable nudes. At the center of the room, two summarily modeled plaster sculptures evoke mutilated and voluptuous bodies that are stripped of any malice. The show continues with three large-scale portraits of women; here, Emin turns to the ancient craft of weaving to reproduce on fabric, in only a few gestures, her typical drawings. A sequence of ten small selfies in gouache and two bronze works, Belligerence and Grotto, both 2014, conclude the exhibition. Emin, once a YBA “bad girl,” seems to have abandoned intemperance in a fervid expectation of more profound feelings—namely, love.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.