Saturday, November 21, 2009

tracey emin and the popes

two interesting things happened in the last week or so:

1. tracey emin wins art + christian enquiry (ACE) award for [i]art in a christian context[/i] -- tracey emin?! she of the tent with the names of everyone she had ever slept (and not necessarily sexually, mind you) with embroidered on it? she of the frank and overt sexuality? she of the abject and throwaway? hmm...but she is also the tracey emin who repeatedly, and directly, without the subterfuge and obfuscation of many other artists, addresses God in her work. i remember reading an interview where she noted that no one ever discusses the religious/ spiritual aspect of her work and instead focus on the shock/ scatological aspects. in an interview with sarah douglas, tracey states:
Judge my work, that’s fine. It’s here, it’s on the wall. But don’t judge my soul. So even though it sounds a little tongue-in-cheek, it isn’t. And in terms of God — not religion, but in terms of God — I have a vast amount of faith, and belief.
and it's not the only time her connection to faith is mentioned. try here, for instance. i find her increasingly fascinating.

2. pope benedict met with artists from around the world in the sistine chapel to discuss the relationship between the church and artists, and the possibilities of Beauty - a gesture of reconciliation and entreaty. it happened to have occurred on the tenth anniversary of pope john paul II's letter to artists, as well as the 45th anniversary of pope paul VI's original meeting with artists in 1964. see the full text of pope benedict's address here.

pjp2's letter starts with "to all who are passionately dedicated to the search for new epiphanies of beauty so that through their creative work as artists they may offer these as gifts to the world". epiphanies of Beauty. lovely.

that's one of the primary ideas i'm currently exploring - the once again acceptable idea of Beauty. dostoyevsky said that "Beauty will save the world", and the idea often finds itself linked to Truth, [moral] goodness, hope. i find that Beauty is invoked a lot in contemporary art, especially art that explores spiritual content. i'd definitely be interested in any suggestions for reading, exploring, thinking about the role of Beauty in art and the world.

(more later)


JAAR said...

I think the tent is my favourite piece of her work.

Why did her winning the award surprise you?

I have spent months thinking about 'protest is beautiful', an artwork by freee. google it or go to Its probably not what you were thinking, but..

I have started putting artwork and thoughts up on I'd appreciate comments. Also if you click on the vimeo bar (which plays an mp3 file on my blog)i think you should be able to see my vimeo profile with a video titled 'techne'. It was an experiment with your space idea.


techne said...

1. knowing that her work does often explore faith (or spirituality), i'm not personally surprised. i think there will be people who will be surprised by the choice, but it will also be great for starting conversations around art, faith and the body.

2. thanks for the heads-up about freee the 'protest is beautiful' piece reminds me of sagmeister's work. i recently watched the art:21 (season 4) segment on protest, featuring nancy spero, an-my le, alfredo jaar and jenny holzer. suggested a whole new way of framing my work. i never really thought of my work as being about protest, but i don't think it is inappropraite. i think that perhaps brueggemann's 'prophetic imagination' is really about protest: declaring that the way things are is not the way things should be (and will be again).

3. i think i pretty much did what you did afterwards using flickr's slideshow app. as for the blog, i'll wait to comment until there is more there...