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The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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Tracey Emin



“There’s a lot of money in chairs.”

This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Nunc at arcu sodales nisi porta euismod non vel neque. Phasellus at lobortis ante, in suscipit justo. Proin non purus vitae nisi molestie consectetur. Vestibulum volutpat lobortis interdum. Vestibulum pretium ligula lorem, egestas ultricies lectus ultricies ac. Curabitur venenatis vulputate dolor.

Tracey Emin's reading is from her autobiographical book, "Exploration of the Soul." She is traveling with a chair that she embroiders as she travels.

"One day - a kind of warm summer day - my mum - was running down the hill - screaming - my baby - my baby - what's wrong with my baby - I was hung across her arms - my stomach - was about to explode I had on my pink and white striped nightie I felt my eyes rolling - and my head was gone - Paul was riding down the hill on his chopper bike. I remember the yellow - He was calling don't worry sis Sis don't worry - I'll get him for you I'll get him - In the hospital, I had to shit into a toilet that had no chain - there was a hole in the bottom - that collected by shit - they put it into a little tub - the policewoman was talking to me - but I kept kind of sleeping.

"Aunty Joyce was there - she was saying have you been naughty - mucking around - playing strange games - I don't know - what strange games were - to me it was all real - I just lay there -my blood slowly moving around my body was I really all alive had not part of me died - my world existed outside of me - How could I explain this- to ascend - and keep ascending - Dear God I thought - every part of me is bleeding.

"I believe she is right - I've decided that this chair is my inheritance - an inheritance to my future. I have decorated the chair with patchwork, embroidery, and applique. It tells the story of my life. I've written a book called 'Exploration of the Soul' which is about me - my beginning - from the moment of conception to the time I lost my virginity: age 0 - 13.

"I will travel across America by road from San Francisco to New York with the chair and copies of my book. I will be giving one-night performances reading my book in galleries and other venues." -Tracey Emin

Artist Statement

A few years ago my Nan gave me a small green bucket-shaped armchair. It’s not that special to look at, in fact, it’s a bit shabby.  My Nan is ninety-three now and the chair is nearly as old as she is—when she gave me the chair she told me:

“There’s a lot of money in chairs.”

I believe that she is right—I’ve decided that this chair is my inheritance—an inheritance to my future.


Tracy Emin: October 8, 1994
About The Artist

Tracy Emin was born in 1963, in London. She has studied at Maidstone College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. Emin is a multi-media artist who gathers inspiration for her artwork from her own life events: whether they are failures, humiliations, hopes, or successes. Her artwork includes her sexually provocative attitude from the tradition of feminist discourse.

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