Feminist Art Series:
Tracey Emin - Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995
Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995 was a tent appliquéd with 102 names of the people she had slept with up to the time of its creation in 1995. The title is often misinterpreted as a euphemism indicating sexual partners and the work termed “a list of all the people that Emin has ever had sex with”, but is in fact intended more inclusively:
Some I’d had a shag with in bed or against a wall some I had just slept with, like my grandma. I used to lay in her bed and hold her hand. We used to listen to the radio together and nod off to sleep. You don’t do that with someone you don’t love and don’t care about.
In 2004, the tent was destroyed in a fire at the East London Momart warehouse, along with two of Emin’s other works and some 100 more from Saatchi’s collection, including works by Damien Hirst, Jake and Dinos Chapman and Martin Maloney. Many other works were also lost, including major pieces by Patrick Heron and William Redgrave.
The public and media reaction was not one of sympathy but of mockery and scorn, focusing on the YBAs, Damien Hirst, the Chapman Brothers, and Emin, with particular attention to her tent. Tabloid papers, The Sun and the Daily Mail, both stated they had already created their own replacement tents, and the latter’s Godfrey Barker asked, “Didn’t millions cheer as this ‘rubbish’ went up in flames?” The same implication gained applause on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions?; Hugh Rifkind in The Times thought similarly to The Independent’s Tom Lubbock, who wrote:
"It’s odd to hear talk about irreplaceable losses. Really? You’d have thought that, with the will and the funding, many of these works were perfectly replaceable. It wouldn’t be very hard for Tracey Emin to re-stitch the names of Every One I Have Ever Slept With on to a little tent (it might need some updating since 1995.)"