GenSex 2013 Workshop

13th Feb 2013, 3:00pm - 5:00pm

Edge Hill University

GenSex does Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin


  • Peter Lee, Department of English and History, Edge Hill University: ‘Tracey Emin: But is it art?’.
  • Lisa Hannam, Department of English and History, Edge Hill University: ‘’The Life and Death of Damien Hirst’.

Papers Abstracts:

  • Tracey Emin is an artist who divides opinion and examples of her work are often used with reference to the perenenial argument ‘Is that art?’. A major theme of her work is that of herself as muse both in strict physically terms and also in an emotional, confessional sense. The narratives of her self-referential works have received positive criticism for their brutal honesty and openness regarding issues of female sexuality, notably sexual abuse and abortion, but this paper shall address a selection of Emin’s work and ask not ‘is this art?’ but  ‘is this good?’ and ‘is this healthy?’.
  • This presentation will interrogate the strong, recurrent, themes of life and death in the artworks of the notorious artist Damien Hirst. Hirst has, arguably, made his way to the “top” of the contemporary art world and is now recognised as one of the world’s richest artists. This presentation will explore the messages behind his ‘shocking’ artworks using comparisons of his artworks, primary texts related to his work, and, in particular, critique from public reviews and recent retrospective interviews.  It will explore the violent mystery which generates his work and, negotiate the extent to which his notoriety comes from the art world’s inability to uncover the elusive truth about Damien Hirst.  Fundamentally, this presentation asks this question: Is Hirst trying to shock us? or, is he trying to help us?

Further information is available here