As a fan of both Emin and Trockel, I was eager to see the room Homeworkers in the Energy and Process collection at Tate Modern. The collection featuring the work of Emin, Trockel, Messager and Harrison is based around one theme; their work subverts materials commonly associated with feminine craft and the domestic sphere. The stand out piece of the collection has to be Emin's 'Hate and Power Can be a terrible thing', an appliqué quilt based around Margaret Thatcher and the Falklands war. The sheer size and detail of the piece commands the room and draws you in as you edge closer towards it. Powerful statements such as 'There's no one in this room who has not thought of killing' provide a discussion point as the couple next to me prove, beginning to debate this very question as they walk away. The contrast of cutesy, chintzy floral with controversial statements exemplifies exactly what Emin does best. The main theme of this piece can only be seen if you squint to read the handwritten text in the lower half of the piece; persevere and you will discover the quote 'In 1982, a year so many conscripts did not got home-because you, killed them all'. Emin is referring to Thatcher's involvement in the Falklands War and it is the placement of this emotive statement that requires inquisition into Emin's appliqué quilt. If you skim over the felt and floral, you miss the deeper point of this artist's work. An overheard comment 'it looks so happy but it's not' succinctly sums up her work in general. This piece of Emin's is in my opinion easily the best piece in the room and controversially so, the best piece in the gallery. Not only do I recommend a visit to Room 8: Homemakers, I insist on it if you want to discover and appreciate one of Britain's best female artists.
|'Hate and Power Can be a terrible thing'-Tracey Emin (author's own image)|
|My version of her piece|
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