三级成人视频

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Tracey Emin with her mother Pam, who died of bladder cancer in 2016
Close: Tracey Emin with her mother Pam, who died of bladder cancer in 2016 Credit: Jonathan Glynn-Smith / Chilli Media  

Tracey Emin has never cared for privacy; “oversharing” is the point of her art. There’s an irony, then, to what happened this year. Just as the world sequestered itself – no exhibitions, no socialising, no face-to-face conversations – the Turner Prize nominee was told, alone at home, the most striking news of all. In her mid-fifties, she was facing death.

Rewind to spring, as the Covid crisis approached. There were signs already, Emin says over the phone, that something inside her was wrong. “I kept thinking, why am I so tired? And I’d go out to dinner and have four glasses of wine, and the next day it would be like Russian roulette – I was so hungover, vomiting. Everything was difficult.

“And something was seriously wrong with my bladder, so every time I felt ill, I thought it was that – a UTI, or whatever. But, during lockdown, I realised it would be impossible for me to have a UTI, because I hadn’t been out of the house for 12 weeks. Then, during lockdown, I became more and more ill.

三级成人视频“I got an appointment with my urogynaecologist, and she found a giant tumour. I had an MRI scan the next day, and a phone call that night saying, ‘You’re going nowhere, you’re doing nothing – you’re going straight to hospital.’”

三级成人视频The diagnosis was squamous-cell bladder cancer. You may not have heard of it, but Emin had. “My mother died of the same cancer,” she says. “Four years ago today.”

Emin’s case was life-threatening. She underwent surgery less than a month later, on July 5. She had just turned 57. “I had my bladder removed, a full hysterectomy, my urethra, my lymph nodes and half my vagina.” After six-and-a-half hours in the operating theatre, she was sewn up and sent home to Spitalfields, where she lives alone. She’s unable to walk far, is given regular scans and blood tests, and has a stoma bag. At first she was on morphine; now she’s tamped it down to paracetamol.

Asked how she’s doing now, Emin is ebullient at first, but wavers. “I’m good. I’m fine – sort of fine. I’m recovering. It’s going to take about a year to get back to being half-normal. But I’m alive.”

Emin is the most honest of the Young British Artists, the group of Nineties enfants terribles. She took their devilish attitude, their willingness to shatter taboos, and turned it upon herself. The work everyone knows is My Bed (1999), strewn with condoms, cigarette packs and menstrual blood. It was nominated for the Turner Prize. The critic Adrian Searle had a typical response: “An endlessly solipsistic, self-regarding homage.”

Emin with her artwork My Bed in 2014 Credit: Getty Images

He walked into Emin’s trap, one that’s still working two decades on. My Bed is evidence of heartbreak, sex and unhappiness; it de-censored a young woman’s life. What was schlocky about the YBAs – Damien Hirst’s pickled cows (1993), the Chapmans’ Nazi figurines (2000) – has never been in Emin’s work. She has spent 25 years being sincere. Her subject is what has happened to her: abortion, alcohol and rape.

三级成人视频Like several of the YBAs, Emin’s operation has risen far above the early years, when she worked in warehouses and dingy flats. She’s now a Royal Academician, with studios in Margate and London; the latter is in Spitalfields, a short distance from where she’s confined. When lockdown came, she behaved correctly, knowing her health was at risk. “I started isolating before the Government said anything. About 10 days before [March 23], I closed my studio and told [my assistants] to go home.”

三级成人视频She had been preparing for a delayed exhibition, opening next month at the Royal Academy. Titled The Loneliness of the Soul, it pairs a selection of Emin’s work (around 25 pieces, from paintings to neons) with 19 oil and watercolour paintings by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Emin hunted through the Munch archive in Oslo while selecting the works. All her life she has felt affinities with him: “I’ve been in love with this man since I was 18.”

The “soul” angle says it all. Munch referred to his tortured works, such as The Scream (1893), as sjaelemaleri, or “soul paintings”, while Emin’s great 1994 work Exploration of the Soul is a textual piece on her youth in Margate: her abusive childhood, her rape at the age of 13. She was lonely from day one: “The moment of my birth into/ this world I somehow felt a mistake/ had been made – I couldn’t scream or/ cry or even argue my case – I/ just lay there motionless just wishing/ I could just go back.”

Her mother, Pam, died in 2016. The pair were intensely close, and Emin’s subsequent work showed how bereft she felt. A show at White Cube last year included a large bronze sculpture, The Mother (2017), and a video showing the wooden box in which Pam’s ashes were kept. The artist’s most notorious act in the public eye remains her 1997 appearance on Channel 4. On a live panel show, she declared herself “drunk”, unnecessarily, and within minutes she’d walked off. Less often remembered is what she said as she did: “I’m leaving now. I want to be with my friends. I want to be with my mum.”

Pam dealt with her own cancer, Emin recalls, “with humility and grace”. She adds: “Apart from the last moment, my mum didn’t want to die – she fought it in a way you wouldn’t believe. She said, ‘Sod this – I don’t want to leave.’

三级成人视频“Up until that moment, she had been so cool. She didn’t moan, she didn’t complain, she had a sense of humour, she was lovely, she wasn’t spoiled – she was just f--king brilliant. I was amazed by her strength and humility. And I said, ‘God, I wish I could have some humility, but I wasn’t born with any.’

“I feel really lucky that I haven’t had to have chemotherapy. That’s what really does them in.” But Pam, unlike Tracey, was elderly, and the medical process was slow. “It took ages to diagnose her,” Emin says, “f--king weeks. And by that time, the cancer was too bad.” Pam had radiotherapy, but it was no longer possible to operate. She died that October, aged 88.

三级成人视频The same illness returned, four years later, to haunt her daughter. Emin says drily: “I’ve had some really s----y things happen to me, so [the cancer] is just another thing to add to Tracey’s List.”

三级成人视频And on some uncanny level, she suggests, her artwork seems to have known. She was working on a large red canvas when she saw her urogynaecologist, and after returning home from the MRI scan, she walked over to the painting, as if magnetised. “It looked finished, but it wasn’t – I could paint more on it, paint over it. I was wondering what it was, looking at it, for something like two hours.” Then came the call, and the news.

Tracey Emin at London's White Cube Gallery in 2019 Credit: Shutterstock

“And when I saw all the scans, they were identical – I painted [the cancer] before I saw it. It’s so strange. I always say about painting and art, it tells me something I didn’t know. You don’t want to go to a fortune-teller and be told something you already know – you want to be told what you don’t know – and it was much the same with this.

三级成人视频“I left the painting as it is,” she adds. “It’s hanging up in my studio. I’m not going to touch it.” Like the rest of her work, it’s an X-ray of her life, transfixing in its honesty. But the picture wasn’t always so fixed. Emin points to a five-day span in hospital, back in the depths of July, when she was waiting to know if the surgery had worked.

“I had it on Sunday, and I got the result on Friday morning. I had written to all my friends telling them what was going on, but not to contact me, and no visitors. I needed to be left alone, to have time to think, and work out how I would deal with the news if it was really bad.

三级成人视频“Having that time,” she insists, “was really good. I had to come to terms with many things – death, forgiveness, regrets.” She’s now preparing to break, irrevocably, with her life as it stands. “I’m nearly 60, and I’ve decided to throw all my cards up in the air – I’ve sold my studio, I’m moving out of the East End.”

三级成人视频Emin says she’s “excited” about this “new life”. “No rotten old bladder, no stinky old tumour, no Freddie Krueger living inside me – a whole new beginning.”

She’s wry. “People say, ‘Tracey, why is your life so dramatic?’ I couldn’t just have a lump removed from my breast.”

Tracey Emin/Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul is at the Royal Academy, London W1, from November 15 to February 28, 2021