Whatever you think of Tracey Emin’s work, you can’t pretend that it doesn’t register on your radar. And here it is, taking up all three floors of the Hayward Gallery in all it’s glory: the first major Emin retrospective. And some of it is glorious. The quilts, double hung, pack a huge punch as soon as you enter the show, and stand up to scrutiny too. There are installations, sculptures, films, paintings, drawings, photographs – there is not a medium Emin hasn’t explored – and all of it is pretty engrossing, even the pieces that strike false notes. Some of it is also very funny. Make sure you see Love is a strange thing for laughs. Why I Never Became a Dancer is another don’t miss piece. Of course any Tracey Emin retrospective will be marked by absence. Her tent piece, Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, 1963 – 1995, (destroyed in the Momart fire in 2004) is of course missing, as is, more surprisingly, My Bed, the seminal 1999 instillation that shot her to mainstream fame. It is owned by Charles Saatchi who declined to lend it to the Hayward, though Emin says he will be showing it himself at a future date.
Do make sure you book tickets for this show, though, as they come in dated and timed slots, and if you just show up you will almost certainly have to wait till the next hourly session begins, and often longer. But guess what: thrillingly, we’ve got a pair of tickets to give away, which will allow one lucky winner and a friend entry on a day and at a time of their choosing with no booking necessary. The winner will also receive the show’s catalogue and a Tracey Emin T-shirt . To win all these treats fill in the form below by 5pm on Friday 3 June, and we’ll pick a name out of a hat.