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Making my bed : Tracey Emin's hysterical confessions of the abject

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posted on 2021-06-08, 10:36 authored by Alicia Chantelle VanDeWeghe

Tracey Emin's My Bed (1998) presents an alternative representation to normative notions of the body, offending hegemonic propriety so greatly that it caused a tabloid media sensation when it was shortlisted for the 1999 Turner Prize. Emin applies certain feminist notions as she continues the motif of the reclining nude, offering semiotic gestures that indicate evidence of the body rather that the body itself. My Bed is the site of trauma and disgust, with all of the abjection left intact, and above all, a self expressionist piece documenting her personal trauma. The expressionist qualities harkens back to cultural discourse of hysteria, reinforcing the legitimacy of the feminist lens. Hysteria is a performance that Emin represents through confessing her traumatic history. Like the archetypal reality television star, she confesses personal emotions and histories, but breaks the status quo by offering an alternative representation with the abjected authenticity of the bed.





Master of Arts


Communication and Culture

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Paul Moore