Renowned artist Tracey Emin discusses the uses of autobiographical material in art and literature with acclaimed novelist Jeanette Winterson.
Approximate duration: 90 minutes.
Tracey Emin (b.1963, Croydon, UK)
Tracey Emin is one of Britain's most celebrated artists. A natural storyteller, she uses her own life as the starting point for her art. Though most of her work, as she says, 'starts off with me', it transcends the personal, becoming something that others can relate to. Her disarmingly frank yet often profoundly private drawings, paintings, installations and sculpture are by turns hard-hitting, romantic, desperate, angry, funny, intimate and ironic. Sometimes confrontational and often provocative, her work resonates with the legacy of feminist art, which investigated issues such as violence against women, female sexuality and so-called 'womanly' crafts. Emin has been awarded many honours. In 2007 she represented Britain at the 52nd Venice Biennale and in 2011, following her major exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, she was appointed professor of drawing at the Royal Academy. As the writer Jeanette Winterson maintains, 'Tracey Emin has done more for public awareness of art, both as a force in its own right, and as a necessary part of life, than any other living artist.'
Jeanette Winterson (b.1959, Manchester, UK)
Jeanette Winterson's writing so far is book-ended by two accounts of her life. Her first book, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, written when she was 25, is semi-autobiographical (she calls it a 'cover version' of her past); her most recent book, Why Be Happy When You Can be Normal?, published in 2011, is a companion and in some ways a corrective to Oranges. In between, she has written poetic novels, science fiction, essays, short stories and books for children. Why be happy?' tells how Winterson leaves her working-class home aged sixteen and later, against the odds, wins a place at the University of Oxford to read English. Oranges, written shortly after she graduated, won the Whitbread First Novel award, became an international best-seller and was adapted for television.