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Tracey Emin: Blair and Cameron ‘did the most terrible things’

Tracey Emin: Blair and Cameron ‘did the most terrible things’

Tracey Emin has spoken of her anger at Tony Blair and David Cameron, two politicians she supported who “will be remembered in history for doing the most terrible things”. The artist was a Labour supporter until switching her allegiance to the Tories about 10 years ago, attending receptions, offering her thought on arts policy to…


Tracey Eminhas spoken of her anger at Tony Blair and David Cameron, two politicians she supported who “will be remembered in history for doing the most terrible things”.

The artist was a Labour supporter untilswitching her allegiance to the Toriesabout 10 years ago, attending receptions,offering her thought on arts policy to ministersand accepting an invitation to install aneon artwork in Downing Street.

But first Iraq and now Brexit have changed her opinions, she said on Monday. Blair and Cameron have ruined their reputations “by doing the most stupid thing in politics that anyone could ever do”.

Emin added: “Both of these men, who are fine politicians and essentially good people, will be remembered in history for doing the most terrible things to our political system and I don’t understand why they fell for it, I don’t understand why they did it.”

“It really aggrieves me to know that I supported both of these men. All I know is that with both of these actions, we are in such a mess.”

One room is filled with 52 photographs Emin has taken of herself documenting her battle with insomnia

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One room is filled with 52 photographs Emin has taken of herself documenting her battle with insomnia. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

She said she could not think “of anything more hideous” than Brexit.

“It is really insane. If we leave Europe and it turns out OK and we’re happy eating our cabbages and we’re happy living on an island with our island mentality then fine, I’ll go along with that. But I don’t think it’s going to work out like that.”

Emin, who supports a second referendum, said Theresa May was not her kind of prime minister, “but I don’t see any men jumping in and wanting to do the job. I saw twits like Boris Johnson run when it actually dawned on him what he was doing.”

Emin was speaking at the opening of an exhibition at the White Cube gallery in Bermondsey, her first show in London for five years.

It includes new paintings, many of which touch on the confessional themes that have always been central to her work, the trauma of her abortion, being raped as a child and the death in 2016 of her mother.

One room is filled with 52 blownup photographs Emin has taken of herself on an iPhone documenting her insomnia, something she describes as being like “an early death from within”.

A Fortnight of Tears at White Cube Bermondsey

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A Fortnight of Tears includes new paintings, many of which touch on the confessional themes that have always been central to Emin’s work Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Emin said she had suffered from insomnia for about 10 years, but it was getting worse and “more and more soul-destroying”.

“I’m at the point where I just have to lay in bed and listen to Radio 3 and the World Service or whatever … it is really hard to concentrate on anything because my mind is very foggy and my body is not working properly.”

Another room of the exhibition is taken up with a large model or maquette for what will be a huge sculpture, at least seven metres tall, to be permanently installed beside the Edvard Munch Museum in Oslo from 2020. The sculpture is called The Mother and is a representation of her own mum.

Tracey Emin, A Fortnight of Tears is at White Cube Bermondsey from 6 February-7 April.

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