Aberdeen Art Gallery scores romantic coup with Tracey Emin neon For You love poem

By Culture24 Staff | 04 November 2009
  • Archived article
A picture of a neon pink heart with a romantic message in the centre in light blue

Tracey Emin's For You (above) has found a permanent home at Aberdeen Art Gallery. © the artist. Todd White Art Photography, White Cube

"The good thing about neon is it's not just about the words," Tracey Emin once mused, observing her work in typically enigmatic fashion.

"It creates an atmosphere. Neon makes people feel happier, which is why you see it at funfairs."

If the outspoken arch provocateur's words are true, visitors to Aberdeen Art Gallery are about to experience a mini-explosion of joy after the National Fund for Acquisitions, The Art Fund, the National Collecting Scheme for Scotland and the Friends of the Gallery teamed up to buy Emin's pink and blue neon For You.

One of a series of similar works representing simple "love poems" by the tax-loathing artist, it will hang permanently in the Centre Court of the Gallery. It is a smaller, differently coloured version of the original, which was commissioned and installed in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral for the city's Biennial last year.

The piece features a glowing pink heart with a romantic message in the centre ("I felt you/ And I knew you / Loved me"), written in light blue lettering which apparently lends a cool juxtaposition to the heartfelt case, topped off with a kiss.

When she began her LED adventures in 1996, the critic Neal Brown lauded them as "molten autobiography in pure candyfloss coloured light."

Other neon messages from Emin have included the observant "I can feel your smile" (2005) and the fawning "I promise to love you" (2008), preceded by the noticeably more forthright "people like you need to f*** people like me" in 2002.

Aberdeen Lead Councillor for Culture Martin Greig said For You reflected "a particular way of thinking in our consumerist society", calling it a "bold purchase with significant contemporary resonance."

"Tracey Emin has been at the forefront of British art for the last 10 years and this acquisition will build on our objective to acquire and exhibit the best of contemporary art in Aberdeen," added Christine Rew, Manager of the Gallery and Aberdeen Museums.

"We are delighted to add this tender and poignant piece by one of Britain's leading modern artists to our collections."

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
Related listings (60)
See all related listings »
Related resources (3)