(b Croydon, Surrey [now in Greater London], 3 July 1963). British artist, active in various fields. Emin's large output has embraced painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, film, Performance art, and writing, but whatever the medium it is usually autobiographical, dealing mainly with her turbulent private life (including her rape at the age of 13). Her confessional, often sexually explicit subject matter and her uninhibited public behaviour (notably a drunken appearance in a live television debate in 1997) have helped to make her one of the best-known and most controversial avant-garde British artists of her generation, alongside another enfant terrible, Damien Hirst.
In spite of such notoriety, Emin prides herself on being a dedicated and hardworking professional artist. Two of her works have become part of the mythology of modern art: Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, 1963–1995 (1995, destroyed in a fire in 2004) and My Bed (1999, Saatchi Gal., London). The first of these took the form of a tent embroidered with the names of all those with whom Emin had ever shared a bed up to that time (including her aborted foetuses); the second consists of her own unmade bed, stained with bodily fluids and accompanied by assorted debris from her life. These works in particular have generated a huge amount of commentary, both for and against. In 2007 Emin was Britain's representative at the Venice Biennale. See also Young British Artists.
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)