Tracey Emin's bed rolls into town

Tate hosts 'defining work of art' and Matisse's Snail

Written by  Liverpool Confidential | Follow @ | Tuesday, 16 September 2014 09:03

MY BED, Tracey Emin’s hallmark artwork, is to go on show at Tate Liverpool.

The 1998 installation which sold for £2.2 million earlier this year, is on a 10-year loan to Tate Britain and comes to the city as part of a tour that includes displays in London and the artist’s home town of Margate.

Tate Liverpool will also host Matisse’s Snail, the first time the work has been seen outside London. The 1953 cut-out comes fresh from a recent record-breaking exhibition of Matisse works, on the South Bank, which attracted more than half a million people and was Tate's most successful show ever.

Both visits to Liverpool are part of a new scheme, announced by Tate Britain today, which will see some of the most famous works in its collections - such as pieces by Picasso, Constable and David Hockney - appear in galleries around the UK. 


Snail by MatisseSnail by Matisse


It wasn’t clear if Emin herself might be on hand in Liverpool to install her once-controversial work, or indeed when exactly it is happening. Details are yet to be finalised, according to a Tate spokesman. 

Tate’s director Sir  Nicholas Serota said: "We have a extremely competent team of technicians and conservators who will map that piece very carefully so we can install it elsewhere without Tracey's necessary involvement, although I suspect she will turn up in Margate when it goes there.”

My Bed was shown at Tate Britain in the exhibition for the 1999 Turner Prize, for which Emin was shortlisted. Like the runner up in the X Factor, it didn’t win, but it is the one that everyone remembers.

It was presented in the state that Emin claimed it had been when she said she had not got up from it for several days due to suicidal depression, brought on by relationship difficulties, and features an unmade bed and a floor littered with empty vodka bottles, cigarette butts, underwear with menstrual stains and condoms.

German collector Count Christian Duerckheim bought the work at auction earlier this year.  He said: “I always admired the honesty of Tracey, but I bought My Bed because it is a metaphor for life, where troubles begin and logics die.”