The Transformation Problem

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Review of Tracy Emin's exhibition 'Telling Tales' at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool

If you like to laugh with your art rather than at it, take a trip to the newly opened Telling Tales exhibition at Liverpool's Tate Gallery. It's worth it for the two Tracey Emin exhibits alone. Until this, I'd heard of her brilliance, her anger and her controversy. But I had no idea just how truly funny she is.

Her CV, hand scrawled in a bi-tel across nine pages of A4 foolscap is a terribly poignant autobiography. By individually framing each page, spelling mistakes and all, she has neatly transformed her life into her art - simple but clever. And the laughter for lefties comes with this entry:

'1987-89 - went to Royal College of Art - Absolutely amazing - After all that I'd been through. I'd say - these were the worst two years of my life - OH TO COME TO TERMS WITH SUCH HUMBLE BEGGININGS - IN SUCH - A FUCKING UNSYMPATHETIC SHITHOLE.'

And if there were any justice in the world her video exhibit Why I'm Not a Dancer should, for its wit alone, become as much a part of cultural consciousness as the Monty Python parrot sketch. Being working class and from Margate may be part of the reason she never made it to the chorus line, but it's what makes her good. Being able to incorporate Sylvester's one-hit wonder You Make Me Feel Mighty Real so as to make it a rebellion song takes genius!