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From an interview with the British artist Tracey Emin, conducted by Laura Allsop, which was published in June by AnOther Magazine.

laura allsop: Some of the figures in your works appear like apparitions. Do you see ghosts?

tracey emin: Yes. I’ve always seen ghosts. I also see myself as a ghost.

allsop: Do you believe in life after death?

emin: One hundred, one million percent. A trillion percent.

allsop: How has the physicality of your practice changed since your surgery?

emin: When I am painting, it feels like I never had bladder cancer. So I feel very free and liberated, much more than I did before my surgery.

allsop: How has your life changed since your surgery?

emin: I don’t drink alcohol anymore. I don’t go out very often. I have to wear baggy elasticated clothing, and I have to carry a giant bag of piss around with me most of the time. But strangely enough, I have never been happier.

allsop: Is there anything from the Nineties you wish could come back?

emin: My bladder.

allsop: Munch and Schiele—who you are often paired with—dealt with illness in their work. Did they help you understand your own illness?

emin: No.

allsop: Do you reread your old diaries?

emin: No.

allsop: Is generosity and the desire to connect a necessity for great art?

emin: No. Most artists are really radically selfish. All of the negative selfish qualities are what’s necessary for art.

allsop: Why do you make art?

emin: I make art because otherwise I’d die.

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September 2023

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