Altered art book page 11 continued: let your fingers do the walking


Continuing Page 11 in the Altered book, I tried to find artists that used childhood experiences are a source.  Tracey Emin (b. 1963) springs to mind immediately.  A lot of her art is in the form of the confessional.  From family sayings (her beloved Grandmother in this case) ‘There’s a lot of money in Old chairs’, where an upholstered chair, appliqued with her one of Granny’s favorite sayings bears testiment to the passing of time.

Read about the chair and other works here 

emins chair
emins chair

Emin’s past experiences provide her oeuvre and may be cathartic to the artist, drawing a line or shutting doors on stuff that has happened before: memories and events that she cannot change.  Everyone experiences this at some time in their lives.  Sometimes it is hard to just walk away without resolving situations.  Sometimes situations just can’t be resolved,and you just have to accept this to move on.  There is a saying by Persian poet Omar Khayyam that goes; –



The moving finger writes and having writ, moves on: nor all your piety not wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all your tears wash out a word of it.”


Polish  artist Miroslaw Balka (b. 1958) also refers to childhood experiences.  His sculptures and installations employ unusual media like soap and salt.  I have seen this sculpture, and found it very moving and humbling.  Perhaps it was the way the shoes were positioned near the stained carpet that produced the poignant effect: a feeling  of being privileged to be looking at something intensely private: the artist’s personal experience.


A good article about Tracey Emin’s work here; –

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