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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Tracey Emin
I THINK IT'S IN MY HEAD
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
UK: Greenford Park
Lots marked W will be sent to Greenford Park Fine Art Storage Facility immediately after the auction.
Artist's Resale Right
Purchase of lots marked with this symbol will be subject to the payment of the artist's resale right.
Double Dagger
Indicates that the lot is being sold whilst subject to Temporary Importation, and that VAT is due at the reduced rate
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
500,000700,000
LOT SOLD. 405,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
3

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Tracey Emin
I THINK IT'S IN MY HEAD
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
UK: Greenford Park
Lots marked W will be sent to Greenford Park Fine Art Storage Facility immediately after the auction.
Artist's Resale Right
Purchase of lots marked with this symbol will be subject to the payment of the artist's resale right.
Double Dagger
Indicates that the lot is being sold whilst subject to Temporary Importation, and that VAT is due at the reduced rate
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
500,000700,000
LOT SOLD. 405,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
London

Tracey Emin
B. 1963
I THINK IT'S IN MY HEAD
signed, titled and dated 2002 on a label stitched to the reverse 
appliquéd blanket
245 by 227 cm. 96 1/2 by 89 3/8 in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Lehmann Maupin, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner 

Exhibited

New York, Lehmann Maupin, I Think It’s in My Head: Tracey Emin, September - October 2002 

Catalogue Note

“Quilt-making has always been considered a craft. It's never been held up in the realms of high art... I have always treated my blanket-making more like a painting in terms of building up layers and textures. Quilt-making involves a lot of thought and love. Just the time involved in the process means many things are discussed and considered concerning life."

Tracey Emin cited in: Charlotte Cripps, ‘Stitches in time: Quilt-making as contemporary art’, The Independent, 15 March 2010, online

Demonstrating the visceral force of human emotion, I Think it’s in my head (2002) is a powerful example of Tracey Emin’s profound and provocative visual practice. Renowned for her brutal honesty and poetic humour, Emin lays bare her greatest weaknesses and vulnerabilities in her art, which self-reflexively explores the overwhelming fallibility of the human psyche. Boldly, bravely, and brazenly she invites us into her inner world of raw feeling, aggression, pain, insecurity, intensity, love, hate, highs and lows: hers is a body of work that speaks the language of humanity in all its imperfect and inconsistent glory. As art historian Rudi Fuchs attests, “[Emin] has introduced a practice of realism, and a particular honesty, from which there is no returning. She is an honest realist” (Rudi Fuchs, ‘A Particular Honesty’ in: Rudi Fuchs et al., Tracey Emin: Works 1963/2006, New York 2006, p. 397). 

I Think it’s in my head was exhibited in 2002 at Lehmann Maupin, New York, in a solo show named after the title of the work, emphasising its potent significance within Emin’s oeuvre. Entrenched with personal intrigue and aesthetic allure, the work comes from Emin’s celebrated cycle of appliquéd blankets, begun as early as 1993. To create these evocative and searingly beautiful patchworks, Emin would cut up old clothes imbued with sentimental value, before physically stitching them into a quilt, square by square. This laborious process offers a compelling metaphor for the artist’s attempt at piecing together fragments of her past. As eminent curator Sue Prichard notes, “Quilts stimulate memories of warmth, security and home, yet their layers can also conceal hidden histories and untold stories” (Sue Prichard cited in: Charlotte Cripps, ‘Stitches in time: Quilt-making as contemporary art’, The Independent, 15 March 2010, online). Such deep-rooted feelings of ambivalence are quite literally stitched into the fabric of Emin’s work. 

The incorporation of text has long been an important part of Emin’s practice, appearing scrawled and strewn over everything. As if pouring out of her in an unstoppable stream-of-consciousness, words are sewn onto chairs and into tents, scratched into the plates of her prints, emblazoned in her distinctive handwriting in the electric glow of a neon sign, stitched, as in the present work, onto the soft fabric of her patchwork quilts. Driven by a primal urgency, Emin’s words share moments of beauty and pain, paranoia and desire, that expose the kaleidoscopic fragility of human experience. Tearing back the confines of social norms, she states: “I want society to hear what I am saying… For me, being an artist isn’t just about making nice things or people patting you on the back; it’s some kind of communication, a message... about very, very simple things that can be really hard. People do get really lonely, people do get really frightened, people do fall in love, people do die, people do fuck. These things happen and everyone knows it but not much of it is expressed. Everything’s covered with some kind of politeness, continually, and especially in art…” (Tracey Emin in conversation with Stuart Morgan, ‘The Story of I’, Frieze, Issue 36, May 1997, p. 60). Unashamedly communicating the most intimate expressions of her inner being, Emin’s visceral words shift from private experience to universal truth. 

Composed at the height of Emin’s meteoric rise to art world stardom, I Think it’s in my head is fuelled by the relentless vortex of emotion that has defined the artist’s career. Part of the ground-breaking YBA group, alongside the likes of Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Jenny Saville, Emin courted international attention for her no-holds-barred approach to interweaving artistry and autobiography. The artist has stated that her quilts were originally intended as blankets for a bed, and indeed the present work recalls the explicit intimacy of Emin’s breakthrough pieces Everyone I have ever slept with, 1963-1995 (1995) and My Bed (1998). Emin’s poignant exploitations of language as a means of baring her soul to the world have positioned her as amongst the most important artists working today. “I don't think I'm visually the best artist in the world, right? I've got to be honest about this,” she states, in a typically candid manner; “But when it comes to words, I have a uniqueness that I find almost impossible in terms of art – and it's my words that actually make my art quite unique” (Tracey Emin in conversation with Lynn Barber, ‘Show and Tell’, The Observer, 22 April 2001, online). 

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
London