Possession by Exorcism

POSTED: Thursday, January 22, 2015

For three weeks in 1996, Tracey Emin locked herself up in a Stockholm gallery and painted, naked, 12 big canvases, 7 body paintings and 79 other drawings and sketches under the gaze of wide-lense cameras embedded in the walls.


The act, called the Exorcism Of The Last Painting I Ever Made, was Emin's way of overcoming her self-doubts at the time, exploring the methods of artists she admired such as Egon Schiele, Edvard Munch and Yves Klein, and led to Emin abandoning painting altogether to practise art solely with the sketches and applied methods we love today.


Tracey Emin Exorcism Of The Last Painting


Exorcism Of The Last Painting I Ever Made proved to be one of the most important pieces in Emin's career: it was shown at The South London Gallery along with her famous tent Everyone I Ever Slept With 1963 - 1995 which itself was to be shown at the revolutionary Sensations exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1997. Just a year later, she created My Bed which at the time earned her a Turner Prize nomination and last year sold for £2.5 million at auction.


Tracey Emin Exorcism Of The Last Painting


The final finished products of her sojourn in the gallery was initally bought by the gallery, Andreas Brändström, for £20,000 and which kept the installation until 2001. It was then offered at Christies for an estimate of £30,000 - a total epically beaten by the bidding battle that ensued between Jay Joplin (Emin's dealer and thought to be acting for Tate Modern at the time) and Charles Saatchi, who eventually won with the price tag of just over £100,000...


Now, following on from the sale of My Bed, Saatchi is releasing this seminal work to continue to fund the free-entry policy fund at Saatchi Gallery. The estimate? £600,000 - £800,000.


And the successful bidder won't just find themselves the proud owner of over 100 paintings and drawings, but also of CDs, food, newspapers from the time and, yes, the bed which she slept in during its making.


Tracey Emin Exorcism Of The Last Painting