Monday, February 6, 2023

Tracey Emin | Exploration of the Soul

Tracey Emin
Exploration of the Soul
Self-published, 1994
20.3 × 20.3 cm.
Edition of 200 signed and numbered copies

Created over an intense ten day period, Exploration of the Soul is the artist's first published text. It recounts her life up to the age of thirteen - from conception to the day when her virginity was forcibly taken from her. 

The Tate Gallery called the work (which also exists as framed A4 sheets of paper)  “a poetic but frequently harrowing account of her sexual history.”

The bookwork is accompanied by a unique hand sewn canvas bag with appliqué text, photographs of Emin and her brother, and a unique monoprint. The book is signed and numbered, and features the inscription "I wanted this to be the truth, Tracey Emin 1994"

"In Exploration of the Soul all my spellings were corrected. When the time came for it to be printed I had to choose whether it was going to be printed in my handwriting and whether it was going to be my own spelling. I decided to have it beautifully printed—a really nice print. So we couldn’t keep the spelling mistakes in it because it would have looked really stupid. I write using stream-of-consciousness and I think my work isn’t important in the detail but in the whole."

“The book is a mental journey – my coming to terms with beauty, innocence and evil combined.”
- Tracey Emin

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