Tracey Emin Travelling Chess Set given "perfect context" at Whitworth Art Gallery

By Culture24 Staff | 22 January 2010
A detail photo of a chess board made from quilt with drawings on it

The October launch of Tracey Emin's Travelling Chess Set, a kooky figurine set of needlework and abstract shapes from the artist who hasn't played the game since her childhood, gained lengthy press coverage.

Kate Moss, Jerry Hall, Jefferson Hack and a multitude of fellow luminaries turned up, fueling gossip-filled paparazzi splashes on a scale rarely granted to the release of a board game.

A photo of a beautiful chess board on a table in a case

The £25,000 set has gone on display at Manchester University's Whitworth Art Gallery.

None of them dipped into their skinny jeans pockets to buy the board, commissioned by the RS&A as part of their Art of Chess series, but Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery has now stumped up £25,000 for the checkered creation, putting it on display immediately.

In typical Emin fashion her quilted squares are awash with sexual allusions, from courtship instructions to "move faster" to graphic ink imagery and a message of affection on the ribbon-tied pouch for storing the bronze pieces.

A photo of an unusually colourful chess board

Emin's board is full of romantic allusions.

Stephen Deuchar, The Art Fund Director who awarded more than £9,000 toward the purchase, called it a "warm and witty" work which exemplified Emin's style against the "perfect context" of the Whitworth.

It was first seen at the Reykjavik Art Museum in Iceland last year, joining other subversive chess set interpretations by the likes of Damien Hirst and the Chapman Brothers.

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