Birds 2012

Tracey Emin (1963 - )



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© London 2012 / Tracey Emin

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  • About the work
    Country: Japan
    City: Tokyo
    Place: British Embassy

    Tracey Emin makes work that directly expresses her own feelings and beliefs. For this print, commissioned for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in London, she creates what she describes as ‘a love letter’ to the Paralympic athletes. Two small birds lean forward to kiss beneath the words ‘You inspire me with your determination And I love you’. Birds have frequently appeared in Emin’s drawings to symbolise freedom and strength, whilst her use of handwritten text directly conveys her emotional tribute to the athletes’ dedication and commitment.


    Using her life history as inspiration and source, Emin has created a body of work which encompasses painting, drawing, video and installation, photography, needlework and sculpture and often dealing with heightened states of emotion. Frank and intimate but universal in its relevance, her work draws on the fundamental themes of love, desire, loss and grief.  A consummate storyteller – Emin once commented, ‘it’s my words that make my art unique’.


    This work is part of a set of limited-edition prints, commissioned from some of the UK’s most critically acclaimed artists to celebrate London hosting the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics. A set of these prints was presented to the Government Art Collection.

  • About the artist
    Tracey Emin was born in London in 1963 and grew up in Margate. Emin has described her practice as being about ‘rites of passage, of time and age, and the simple realisation that we are always alone’. In recent years, painting and bronze sculpture have become her primary focus in works where the body as a battle ground comes to the fore. She has exhibited internationally at solo and group exhibitions in Holland, Germany, Japan, Australia and America. In 1999 she was short-listed for the Turner Prize at the Tate Gallery, London. She has had major exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2020); The Musée d’Orsay, Paris (2019); Château La Coste, Aix-en-Provence, France (2017); Leopold Museum, Vienna (2015); Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami (2013); Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires; and Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (both, 2012); In 2007, Emin represented Britain at the Venice Biennale.
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    Materials & Techniques
  • Details
    Birds 2012
    Portfolio Title
    London 2012
    HDC 2/10
    height: 76.00 cm, width: 60.00 cm
    Presented by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, October 2011
    bl: BIRDS 2012 ; br: Tracey Emin H.D.C. 2/10 2011
    London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (gift)
    GAC number