Entertainment & Arts

Tracey Emin to become Professor of Drawing at RA

Tracey Emin
Image caption Emin was one of the leading members of the Young British Artists movement in the 1990s

Tracey Emin says she is "thrilled" after being appointed Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy.

The artist is perhaps best known for her installations - an unmade bed, or slogans spelled in neon lights - but has won praise for her line drawings.

Among them is her recent poster for the 2012 Paralympics, which depicts two small birds appearing to kiss.

"I'm really excited to be teaching again after so many years," said the 48-year-old in a statement.

"I hope that I can add something constructive to the Royal Academy Schools."

Emin's appointment was approved last week at a meeting of the Academy's General Assembly.

At the same time, Fiona Rae was appointed Professor of Painting and Richard Wilson was made Professor of Sculpture.

Emin and Rae are the first female professors in the history of the Academy, which was founded through a personal act of King George III in 1768.

Image caption One of Emin's drawings, XXX, featured in a postcard sale at the Royal College of Art this year

Rae told the BBC that the institution had made a "huge leap forward from the 18th century to the 21st"

She said last week's meeting had been a one of the "most momentous events in the history of the Academy", adding that she was "totally thrilled" by both her and Emin's appointments.

They follow the election of Eileen Cooper as the head of the Royal Academy schools, a position known as Keeper of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Rae told the BBC that the members of the Academy had voted to update its laws, removing any gender bias.

'Bad hangover'

Emin works in a number of media, including needlework, watercolours, sculpture, film-making, animation and installations.

Figurative painter Diana Armfield told The Times newspaper she had seen what "I suppose are drawings" by Emin, but that she "wouldn't have thought that her talents were that way".

Reviewing her retrospective earlier this year, the Telegraph's chief art critic Richard Dormant wrote: "she can draw like an angel, albeit one with a bad hangover."

Image caption Birds 2012 - Tracey Emin's poster for London's Paralympic Games

But Eliza Bonham Carter, head of the Royal Academy Schools, said Emin's "spontaneous" style was "often wrongly associated with something that is untrained".

"Her drawings are quite informal in the sense that they are about the everyday," she told the BBC.

"There's quite a beautiful use of mark, but there's not a fully worked-up, hatched, shaded, traditional objective drawing."

Emin was born in London but raised in the seaside town of Margate. She earned a master's degree at the Royal College of Art and shot to fame in the 1990s as one of the leading members of the Young British Artists movement.

She first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1997 with one of her best-known works, a tent embroidered with the name of Everyone I Have Slept With 1963-1995 (there were 102 names in total).

Emin became a Turner nominee in 1999, for the controversial My Bed installation, and has been seen around the world.

The artist's teaching appointment marks the culmination of a successful year.

She held a full-scale retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, opened the Turner Contemporary Gallery in her home town, and installed one of her neon signs in 10 Downing Street.

Later this month, she will guest edit Radio 4's Today programme.

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