What Tracey did when she was 13

IT HAS to be the ultimate artistic conceit - a museum run by a living artist, and totally dedicated to herself. Tracey Emin, a member of British art's new self-possessed brat-pack, has renovated an old mini- cab office in south London as a high-street monument to her life.

Wedged between a unisex hairdressing salon and a greasy- spoon cafe, the shopfront has a pink neon sign declaring it to be the Tracey Emin Museum. Passers-by stare at whitewashed gallery walls through the plate glass. But what makes this different from any other new gallery is that it will slowly be filled with sketches, notes, photographs, newspaper cuttings and other memorabilia of Emin's childhood and private life.

For the opening on Thursday, there was only a home movie playing in the corner and monoprints on the wall (several featuring the artist on her back with legs splayed open), under the title What Made Me What I Am. In time they will be joined by more works and a sheet across which Emin will write her intimate diary of the next year. She will read her own short stories, while the public sits on cushions and wears silk slippers she has made.

"In the Eighties I wouldn't have been able to get an exhibition," she said. "Nobody took me seriously." Now she is a feted part of the new gang of thirtysomething artists, whose collective name has become Britpop and whose most famous member is Damien Hirst. Emin's work was exhibited alongside Hirst's and that of his fellow Turner Prize winner Rachel Whiteread as part of an exhibition in Minnesota that took America by storm earlier this year. Her contribution was a tent embroidered with names, entitled Everybody I've Ever Slept With: 1963-1995.

"They are all control freaks," said the artist Celia Lyttelton of the Britpoppers. "They have psychological power over each other and an infallible faith in what they are doing."

So Emin did not find it too difficult to raise the money she needed to refurbish the building - she estimates it will cost pounds 15,000 to run for a year. The project has the support of the art dealer Jay Jopling, who gave Emin her first show at his White Cube gallery in 1993, and took her to America. As part of an art fair in New York she sat in a hotel bed wearing a neglige. The bedspread sold for pounds 2,500.

"It's a fashionable thing," she admits. "If it's my wave, then let me surf it." The museum is an extension of the attitude that made her famous, a passion for putting her life on display.

But who cares about the ephemera of a 32-year-old's life? "It opens doors to other people's experiences," Emin said. "It is a two-way exchange. All this work is about being 13, having sex, leaving school, sleeping with different people and then, at 15, deciding enough is enough. There are a lot of women out there who have these experiences but they're going around thinking they're a teenage slut or something. That's not the case. Hopefully a dialogue will happen between us."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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 General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower