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Tracey Emin

How it Feels, 1996

22 minutes, 33 seconds
single channel video (shot on Hi8)

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Arguably Emin’s most personal video work, How it Feels (1996) addresses the artist’s experience with her abortion. The film begins outside her doctor’s office in an old church in London, where Emin underwent the procedure six years prior. The off-camera voice prompts her with questions, as she talks openly to the viewer about her story. Emin describes her male doctor, who initially refused her permission to terminate the pregnancy. She speaks of her anger, moral confusion, heartbreak and guilt following the abortion. Walking through the city, she recollects the reasons for taking the decision, such as her basic need for survival and the reality of life as a struggling young artist. The film gives a difficult, yet empowering account of the physical and psychological dimensions of refusing motherhood.

Selected Exhibitions:
2012, True stories, Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, USA
2012, Tracey Emin, Malba, Buenas Aires, Argentina
2011, Tracey Emin: Love is What You Want, Hayward Gallery, London, UK
2010, Tracey Emin Why Be Afraid, Galleria Lorcan O'Neill, Rome, Italy
2004, Can't See Past My Own Eyes, Sketch, London, UK
2002, Ten Years, Tracey Emin, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (exh. cat)
1997, Hypermnesiac Fabulations, Powerplant, Toronto, Canada
1997, How it Feels, Tracey Emin Museum, London, UK
1997, I Need Art Like I Need God, South London Gallery, London, UK

Selected Literature:
— Jones, Jonathan, Tracey Emin. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2020
— Brown, Neal, Tracey Emin (Modern Artists). London: Tate Publishing, 2006, ill. p.77
— Emin, Tracey and Freedman, Carl, Tracey Emin. Ed. Honey Luard. New York: Rizzoli, 2006, ill. p. 63, 65 - 66
— The Art of Tracey Emin
. Ed. Mandy Merck and Chris Townsend. London: Thames & Hudson, 2002, ill. p. 168
— Exh. Cat. Visions du Réel Festival international de cinema. 2010, ill p. 436
— Larratt-Smith, Philip, Tracey Emin How it Feels. Buenos Aires: Malba 2012