To Hold Your Soul

Tracey Emin, 1963

To Hold Your Soul, 2015

Tracey Emin gained notoriety early on with “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, 1963–1995,” a tent to which she appliquéd the names of everyone she had ever slept with between the titular years, which was included in the “Sensation” exhibition organized by Charles Saatchi at the Royal Academy in London in 1997. The artist has been nominated for the Turner Prize, and she represented Great Britain at the 2007 Venice Biennial.

“To Hold Your Soul” is made of neon, a material Emin frequently calls upon. Typically used in the signage of hotels, stores, and other commercial entities, neon in this case externalizes a confidential narrative in which Emin indeed converts the personal into the political, and questions the dynamic between the two, while consciously trivializing the message she seeks to convey. Within this context, the “To Hold Your Soul” statement, squeezed inside a heart shape, resembles a superficial commercial billboard. As an implementation of Emin’s own handwriting, this message bears traces of her personal and emotional past.





Credit Line

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art Collection