The Drawing Room is the only public gallery in the UK and Europe dedicated to the investigation and presentation of international contemporary drawing. The Drawing Room produces exhibitions, artist-led projects, talks and publications that provide opportunities for artists, across nationalities, generations and cultures, to develop their practice. The visionary programme is widely disseminated via the web, exhibition tours and the international distribution of publications.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


The Hayward Gallery’s exhibition of the summer, ‘Tracey Emin: Love is What You Want,’ represents a vibrant display of the YBA’s oeuvre to date. The highly personal, and often-narcissistic work of Emin makes use of a vast array of differing mediums: from video to fabric works, and neons to outdoor sculptures. Drawing, however, is the medium that lies at the root of the artist’s practice, and this is reflected in the exhibition itself, with one wall label proclaiming that:
‘Tracey Emin refers to drawing as the backbone of her art. She became entranced with drawing when she first began to study art and it has remained her most enduring and consistent medium ever since.’
Indeed, many of Emin’s tapestries, light-works, and paintings that are displayed over the Hayward’s two floors, utilise flowing outlines that mimic the fluidity and spontaneity that one might associate with a quickly drawn sketch in graphite or ink. The neon work Blinding (2000), for example, almost looks as though the upside-down torso and legs of a female nude have been hastily drawn in light against a dark background; an image akin to the pictures that children trace in the air with sparklers at fireworks displays.
The top floor of the exhibition features a considerable number of monograph prints: a technique that Emin describes as ‘drawing in reverse.’ In one corner of the upper gallery these monographs are displayed in a cluster, the individual voices of each work jostling against each other to be heard. This curatorial decision highlights both the urgency and the overwhelming volume of Emin’s drawings. Furthermore, a large-scale animated drawing projected onto one wall emphasises the dynamism of Emin’s drawing, as the image of a female body is literally given movement as it flits randomly across the screen.
As an ambitious and comprehensive exhibition that showcases the importance of drawing in the practice of one of the biggest names in the UK’s contemporary art scene, a visit to the Hayward this summer is highly recommended for Tracey Emin’s lovers, fans, and critics alike.

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