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Artist's description:

Vanitas is Tracey Emin's My Bed (1998), cut up, scrambled and recomposed on a cornflower blue backdrop, derived from a microscopic image of white blood cells attacking gonorrhoeal bacteria. Private subject matter in a historically sacrosanct space, My Bed questioned prevailing notions of what constitutes art. Its abject and slightly repulsive subject matter were an incursion into the status quo and normative guidelines for aesthetic beauty. But sometimes germs and dirt are good. The ways in which we inoculate against contagion have been known to breed superbugs and viruses. It is conjectured that during the Vietnam War, American soldiers who overused antibiotics to protect against contracting the venereal disease in Asian brothels unwittingly contributed to the incurable strain we know today. Vanitas, referring to the unimposing genre of 17th-century Dutch painting, examines the polarities between protection and intrusion, vulnerability and exposure, safety and risk.

Vanitas is part of New Britannia: Reinventing British Iconography, an exhibition of ten works displayed at Roast Restaurant in London's Borough Market from October 2015 to March 2016. The series cannibalises classical and contemporary icons through painted collage, reflecting on the manufacture and circulation of symbols in British pop culture and art history.

Materials used:


Vanitas (2015)


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This artwork is sold by Rachel Maggart from United Kingdom

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