Tracey Emin: The artist once famed for her hedonism is turning over a new leaf as she hits 50

 

Love her or loathe her, there's no denying that Tracey Emin knows a thing or two about makeovers, transforming mundane objects such as unmade beds into Turner-nominated masterpieces. But now the artist is turning her attention to her biggest challenge yet: herself.

The one-time enfant terrible of the Brit Art scene wants to leave her hedonistic self behind as she rebrands herself three days before her 50th birthday as a workaholic. Emin has pledged to turn her back on her notorious ability to party and focus instead on her work for at least the next three decades.

"I'm prioritising all shows: stuff I previously would have said I couldn't physically do; now I'll say yes," she said. "I only want to go out one night a week and I want to try not to drink too much. I already wake up early, at about six in the morning, but I want to start working at that time, too. The next 30 years all I want to do is concentrate on work."

That work can often look like a homage to the morning after, what with that condom-strewn bed and a tent embroidered with the names of all the people she had ever slept with. But that was then.

"I've never had ambition, but it feels different now. Everything has culminated in this moment. Twenty years ago, I would have argued life is more important. I don't have any children, partners or lover; the main thing is my work. There's the realisation that I want to push it more; I want more of it."

Emin, who was brought up in Margate, is starting as she means to go on, showing two pieces in this week's "Do It 20 13" project at Manchester International Festival. She said a recent exhibition in New York was "the best show I have ever had in my life".

She put her new drive down to "turning 50; to do with the menopause; to being unloved; to being single; and self-preservation". She said: "When I'm old, I know where I'm going to be: working still, going up and down [my studio] in my lift. No one is going to be out there looking after me; only me."

She insists she is still an "individual thinker" who does not toe any one line. But she has thrown her weight behind the Conservatives. "David Cameron will always be remembered as the nice prime minister," she said. "His policies on single mothers, and this and that are brilliant, really good. If he was a Labour prime minister bringing in policies, so many people I know would be really behind him."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits