Tracey Emin: Artist reveals cancer diagnosis and stoma surgery

October 28, 2020

Tracey Emin has revealed she was diagnosed with cancer and had a stoma operation earlier this year.

In a new interview, the British artist said she had "half my body chopped out, including half my vagina" after being diagnosed during lockdown.

Speaking to art market news site Artnet, the 57-year-old said she had been working on a painting of a malignant lump before the growth on her bladder was discovered.

She said: "It's exactly the same as my bladder with the tumour in it, before I knew I had the cancer - it's brilliant!"

Emin underwent an operation in the summer, having some of her reproductive organs removed and a stoma pouch fitted.

She is now in remission.

However, she said one of most frustrating things about her illness is that she has not been able to paint since her treatment.

"It feels like I only really got going in the last five years, that I started to understand what I am doing and what I am painting for," she said. "Yesterday, I was crying because I wanted to paint and I didn't have the energy to do it."

Emin is one of the most well-known British artists of her generation, famous for her work My Bed - a notorious installation that included empty vodka bottles, cigarette butts, stained sheets and used underwear - that was shortlsted for the Turner Prize in 1999.

She was one of the so-called Young British Artists who emerged in the 1990s, along with Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas.

Her latest exhibition, Detail Of Love, opens on 30 October and runs until 19 December at the two Xavier Hufkens art galleries in Brussels.

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