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Tracey Emin
Via Instagram (@whitecube)

Tracey Emin reflects on her life during the coronavirus lockdown

‘These times are scary… dark… and they are going to get really bad’

Tracey Emin has been sharing a daily diary of her life during lockdown. The British artist, who lives in London, has been posting images and videos with accompanying thoughts on the White Cube’s Instagram account.

Much like Emin’s previous work, which is intensely personal and usually reflects the artist’s inner world, the seven-part diary gives us an insight into her daily life and changing moods. “We need art, all kinds of art. We need to encourage museums and galleries to do as many diverse projects and interventions as possible. This could be an opportunity to learn more about artists and their practice,” she told The Art Newspaper.

The first entry, posted on March 26, is a video of Emin in the bath with a tray of hot cross buns and coffee. She writes: “Today I would be happy… today I would celebrate my solitude… if I were not filled with an overpowering sense of fear… A darkness… that has made me want to live more than ever.” She continues: “Now I want to live and fuck and love and scream… I’m going straight towards the sun… I’m going to feel warmth and safety and kindness and all that I ever dreamt I could feel.”

The following day’s entry features a photo of Spitalfields Church with the caption: “Today there were no birds singing… and I feel nothing… a numbness that sweeps over my body, a giant culling machine… feeling dead from the inside.” March 28 is a selfie with the words: “Today there was something wrong with me… There’s still is something not right… I’m angry… but I don’t have the energy to show it… it’s living inside me, festering, moving around, doing a takeover of my soul.”

The latest entry, posted yesterday (March 29), is a video closeup of a painting, which she describes as “never finished”, before adding: “I will not compromise, not on who I am or what I do.”

So far, three of the artist’s shows have been postponed due to coronavirus. Reflecting on the pandemic, she told The Art Newspaper: “I spend a lot of time alone. I’ve lived alone for 18 years, so I’m used to solitude. But these times are scary… dark… and they are going to get really bad. I already know people who are very ill, and hear of many who are in intense care and it’s only just the beginning.”