Back at Tate Britain for the first time since it starred in her 1999 Turner Prize exhibition, Tracey Emin’s iconic ‘My Bed’ takes pride of place amid a series of new displays opening today, showing art from the 1970s to the present. Created in her Waterloo council flat in 1998, the most famous bed in contemporary art is a searingly honest snapshot of Emin’s life immediately after a traumatic relationship breakdown.
See the preview video in which Tracey admits that when she installs the bed ‘it’s really sad and very depressing because I’m actually going into a time capsule of my past.’ Its stained sheets, empty vodka bottles and fag packets, discarded undies, towels and tights reflect ‘the absolute mess and decay of my life.’
Tracey’s dishevelled divan isn’t the only art bed on show at Tate Britain this spring. Also getting an airing as part of the new displays is ‘Bed’ (1980) by Antony Gormley, a double mattress made from slices of bread (preserved in wax) bearing two eaten-away impressions of the artist’s body. Crumbs!