"Dog Brains" By Tracey Emin
14/01/12In my inbox this morning I was invited to buy Dog Brains by Tracey Emin. It is a screenprint priced at £800. This print from 2000 measures 40 x 30 inches and is from an edition of 300.
Dog Brains was created as part of a set of drawings that Emin has described as a number of self-portraits about being drunk. Typically these show female figures, often nude, represented by tentative slightly blurred lines, with captions inscribed in an awkward hesitant script. They convey a vivid immediacy coupled with an air of vulnerability and self-doubt.
According to Emin "Dog Brains has got humour. It looks like a bit of a tragic, spindly, pissed figure. I'd want people to feel empathy. I want women to say, "Yeah, I know how that feels." If I was to wear high shoes and be drunk, this is close to how I'd be standing. I do lots of drawings where the face is blanked out or scribbled over or just a line for the eyes and nothing else."
My reaction is simple - You'd have to be pissed to buy it. But then maybe I am jealous. She produces shite and makes a fortune. Hell, even Call me Dave likes her work.
I read an interesting biography of her that went something like this:
"Tracey Emin’s art is biographical and is frequently highly confrontational, but is redeemed by its honesty, good humour, self-awareness, poetry and ultimate innocence. Although she deals relentlessly with the minutiae of her own life she touches largely on issues that are common to all, not least sexuality, mortality, and the creation of meaning in life. Tracey Emin’s ability to integrate her work and personal life enables Emin to establish an intimacy with the viewer."
What absolute tosh. Emin’s work isn’t skilled, elegant or beautiful. Like most of her art, it depends on a minuscule amount of originality, repeated over and over again in other works, until it becomes utterly devoid of anything really.
In this case, the originality comes from taking a strange looking line drawing of a woman that probably took about 60 seconds to draw and adding the slogan Dog Brains with the N drawn backwards. Brilliant? Nope fraid not just plain old exploitation.
I asked an old friend of mine for his reaction to this masterpiece. The soft version was "It is not very nice is it."
Chris Sabian is a portrait artist with www.kutefineart.com/ and owner of www.paragonprints.co.uk/