Review Round Up: Tracey Emin/Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul, Royal Academy of Arts

Find out what critics have had to say about this latest exhibition to open at the Royal Academy of Arts….

Tracy Emin, It didnt stop-I didnt stop, 2019

The Observer: **** “This exhibition is not comprehensive enough to be billed as a retrospective, but even so, everything that Emin has made and felt and suffered in the past is brought to full expression in it.”

The Telegraph: **** “Exhibitions pairing artists from different historical periods are tricky to pull off, but this one works, because it is a love letter that Emin has been wanting to write for decades.”

The Upcoming: **** “From Munch’s quietly melancholic sketches to Emin’s painterly expressions of lost love, this is an exhibition of great personal beauty and sadness, forging connections of human emotion across art made 100 years apart.” “The inner self is her main subject. Much more obviously so than it is with Munch. No apologies for being an egoist. I ought to find this claustrophobic and depressing, and there are occasions, where other artists of the same generation are concerned when I do. And sometimes even with Emin’s earlier works. But not with this series of big recent paintings. Maybe it’s the threat of death and extinction hanging over them which gives them their power. Go to the R.A. and take a look and see if you agree with me.”

Culture Whisper: ***** “The Loneliness of the Soul, organised by the Munch Museum in Norway in partnership with the Royal Academy, puts Emin’s work – she selected Munch’s pieces for the exhibition with curator Kari J Brandtzaeg – in direct conversation with that of her ‘fellow lost soul’ and kindred spirit. The result is powerful to say the least; prepare yourself for a heart-wrenching experience.”

The Guardian: **** “At best, Emin’s work is a kind of exorcism of her inner struggles and the complications of her life. She pitches herself against Munch’s own turmoils. He makes a good sounding board. The exhibition catalogue also makes a great deal of the connections – some even psychic – between the two artists, yet rarely have I read a more hagiographic, toe-curling publication from a major institution.”

The Times: ***** “To step into this show is to walk straight up the crotch of Tracey Emin. She lies spatchcocked on a canvas before you, crooked knees parting to expose the scribbled darkness of genitals. You are face to face with what (barring Courbet’s notorious The Origin of the World) is probably the most famous vagina in western culture.” “Although this isn’t a cheerful exhibition, it’s a vital one for anyone interested in how to capture the human condition in an artwork, providing a masterclass in expressing the inner workings of the soul through art.”

iNews: “The Loneliness of the Soul may have started as a tribute from one artist to another, but Emin has no compunction in stepping up to share the theatrics.”

Evening Standard:**** “My only issue is that Munch’s cries can’t always be heard over the fierce yowls of Emin’s works. Most of these are from the last seven years — and this is the rawest she’s ever been, after years of working through trauma to the point that she feels emotionally strong enough to allow it all out onto the canvas unfiltered by fear that it might break her (it’s cruelly ironic that this should coincide with a collapse in her physical health — earlier this year she had major surgery for bladder cancer). I found the sheer heart-stopping clamour of her paintings almost too much for Munch’s quieter anguish.”

Tracey Emin/Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul will be on display at the Royal Academy of Arts until the 28th February 2021.

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