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The year has been bleak for many but for Tracey Emin, 2020 was the year she found out she had cancer. Now in remission and ready to open her latest exhibition The Loneliness of the Soul (lockdown permitting), she says she feels luckier than coronavirus patients, despite her cancer diagnosis earlier this year.
“Even when I thought I had six months to live, I was luckier than them. I wasn’t going to die alone – and if it was going to be six months, I at least had time to plan my last days.” Emin told The Guardian.
The six-hour operation that followed the diagnosis to remove the tumour also meant Emin lost her uterus, bladder, fallopian tubes, ovaries, lymph nodes, part of her colon, urethra and some of her vagina. For such an intense operation, Emin is remarkably upbeat, revealing to The Guardian how she felt the 'curse' that had followed her life had lifter after surgery.
“I did feel cursed most of my life and then after this one, when they took my bladder out, I thought, ‘Fucking brilliant! This manky old thing that’s caused me problems all my life has gone.’ And the curse that was like thrown on me has gone with it. It’s in the incinerator. I’m free of that now.”
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Last year, Tracey hosted a Q&A in #WhiteCube Bermondsey, coinciding with her acclaimed solo exhibition ‘A Fortnight of Tears’. Each member of the audience was asked to submit in writing an anonymous question, which Tracey pulled out of her own top hat at random. No question was off limits, offering a candid insight into her thought process and practice. #AFortnightofTears included sculpture, neon, painting, film, photography and drawing, all focusing on the Tracey’s own memories and emotions arising from loss, pathos, anger and love. Film: © @traceyeminstudio, courtesy White Cube White Cube (opens in new tab)
A photo posted by @whitecube on May 13, 2020 at 2:47am PDT
Now, Emin is planning on moving to a different area of London, where she can hear the birds sing and is looking ahead to a full recovery, “I can’t walk that far really. I can’t run. I can’t do a lot of things. It’ll take about six months before I’m better” but in true Emin style the exhibitions will continue, “I will find love! I will have exhibitions. I will enjoy my life!” and for that we couldn’t be happier.
Lydia is woman&home’s Lifestyle News Editor and a freelance travel writer. Day-to-day she manages an international team of nine news writers and oversees all news content on woman&home.com. Her travel writing has been published in BBC Good Food, Oh magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Town&Country, ELLE, MailOnline, Woman, and woman&home.
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