May 20, 2011 / 10:19 AM / 6 years ago

Exhibitions: Tracey Emin's adults-only retrospective

<p>A employee poses with artist Tracey Emin's artwork "White Rose" during a preview of her exhibition "Love is What You Want" at the Hayward Gallery in London, May 16, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>

LONDON (Reuters) - Tracey Emin, the enfant terrible of British art, is holding a major retrospective exhibition and perhaps unsurprisingly it has been slapped with a parental guidance warning.

Organizers are insisting that any under-16s have to be accompanied by an adult if they want to wander round “Love is What You Want,” at the Hayward Gallery.

Emin, 47, has called the show “the biggest moment of my art career.”

“I‘m looking at me in the most intimate way” says Emin of the provocative exhibition, which highlights themes of love, sexual desire and humor, but also addresses rape and abortion.

It features Emin’s 1996 film “How it feels” where she openly speaks about her own experiences following the termination of two pregnancies, and what she calls her period of “emotional suicide.”

Colorfully decorated blankets bearing multi-vocal texts hang in the gallery’s entrance -- the collages are described by Emin as using the “sacred fabrics” of her family’s clothes and household furnishings.

Her first words “look apple” in 1965 appear on one blanket, another made in 2002 says: “I do not expect to be a mother, but I do expect to die alone.”

A 2001 neon heart creation reads: “You forgot to kiss my soul.”

Five rooms have been filled with work ranging from erotic paintings, profane text, film, sculptures and memorabilia that reveal Emin’s most personal emotions and thoughts.

“It’s my words that actually make my art quite unique,” says Emin in the show’s catalog.

“When I re-create things again and again, it’s not because I want to make the same drawing; it’s because I want to work with the same memory” she tells Ralph Rugoff, director of Hayward Gallery.

The exhibition runs until August 29

Editing by Paul Casciato

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