British artist Tracey Emin reminds me of that friend that everybody has who over-shares and divulges way too much information and detail about her private and sexual life, to the point where it becomes awkward and uncomfortable. Her multimedia artwork has always been extremely personal and confessional and her current solo exhibit, Only God Knows I'm Good, at Lehmann Maupin's Lower East Side location displays her "recurring themes of love, sex, and lust" (from the exhibit's press release) though this time sans used condoms and dirty undies (My Bed, 1998).
The gallery presents 53 works including neons, sculptures, embroideries, monoprints, and an animated film projection of a woman masturbating in the back of the gallery. Emin presents several images of a female figure's legs spread-eagle exposing her nether regions in both embroideries and prints. This pose can represent the woman pre- or post-coital and can make her appear either empowering or vulnerable. I find Emin's work more powerful and emotional when she incorporates text, as she often reveals feelings of insecurity, hurt, anger, or anxiety, ie: "No you were a dog but thing is I was less" (Dog Fuck, 1999); "You Made me Feel like nothing" (Just Like Nothing, 2009); "I Can't Feel" (More Nothingness, 2009); and "Don't kid yourself Trace your scared SHITLESS" (Scared Shitless, 1997). These upsetting and disturbing works feel raw and confessional, as if she exorcises her demons by creating them.
Upstairs in the gallery a fiery neon work by the artist blazes, "Some Crazy Fucked Up Dog Like Hell That's How it Feels to Live without Love". Emin recently released a book of poems titled Those Who Suffer Love. She has also written a 2008 autobiography titled Strangeland, and Rizzoli published a new monograph, Tracey Emin: One Thousand Drawings, earlier this year. It seems Emin has a lot of confessing to do and many more stories to tell. See Lehmannmaupin.com for more information. Through December 19th.