Tracey Emin and Edvard Munch at the Royal Academy of Arts

Tracey Emin’s works will dialogue with Edvard Munch in an exhibition staged at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, from November this year.

The exhibition will feature around 25 works by Emin, including paintings, neons and sculpture. These have been selected by the British artist to echo 19 oil paintings and watercolours by Munch, from the rich collection and archives of the Munch Museet in Oslo, Norway.  

Paintings such as You were here like the ground underneath my feet and Because you left, both 2016, (Private collections), express feelings of loss, melancholy and poetry, central to both artist’s discourses.

In her formative years as an artist, Emin was interested in the expressionism of paintings by both Edvard Munch and Egon Schiele, their concerns in exploring the complex human condition and tortured psyche which deeply influenced her practice.

The curation will include famous works such as The Death of Marat, 1907 (Munch Museet, Oslo). Referencing the subject of Jacques-Louis David’s famous painting of 1793 which bears the same title, Munch may have been considering his legacy in addition to exploring traditional complex attitudes towards women. The revolutionary Marat was murdered by Charlotte Corday, who feared he would incite a civil war in France. History presents Marat as a hero and Corday as a traitor. The subject and history’s reading of it had resonance for Munch who had just undergone a painful breakup with a woman he had been engaged to for a number of years, a trauma that was to haunt him throughout his life, and of which many expressions can be detected in his work.

The Loneliness of the Soul will be staged from 15 November 2020 – 28 February 2021.