the ancient capital of Egypt through most of its early history, is now
represented by the smouldering rubbish mounds at Bedreshen on the west
bank of the Nile 14 miles south of Cairo. Scarce remains of the temple
of Ptah and of Apis have been discovered at the site as well a few statues,
including two four metre ones in alabaster of Ramses II. It is believed
that Memphis was the largest city in the world from its foundation until
around 2250 BC, its population was over 30,000. It was still an imposing
set of ruins in the 12th century but became used as a source of building
material for surrounding settlements and gradually became little more
than an expanse of low ruins and scattered stone. In the Bible Memphis
is called Moph or Noph.
There are some boxes in Tracey Emin¹s studio marked Œmemorabilia¹. They mostly hold an unimposing collection of objects. The kind of ephemeral stuff ordinarily discarded or long forgotten in the bottom of some rarely accessed cupboard or basement. From this collection of memorabilia Emin makes simple sculptural displays either presenting one object by itself, or with related counterparts, sometimes adding to the display a hand-written text or perhaps a drawing. The process of transformation is a slight one, yet Emin imparts an unexpected poignancy to these humble momentos. In the instance of Albert Bert and Andy it is an old five pence coin; with Whimsy it is a wooden display case containing dozens of kitsch china figurines.. Menphis is a photograph of some concrete rubble, a pile of rusty nails, a coil of wire and a small scratchy monoprint.
Emin is also publishing two small books for the exhibition, including a reprint of Exploration of the Soul (originally published 1994), an autobiographical short story which goes from Emin¹s conception to age thirteen, and Details of Depression which brings together an ancient Arabic poem and a series of photographs taken around Northern Cyprus.
Counter Gallery is co-ordinated by Carl Freedman. Over the last ten years he has collaborated on numerous projects with Emin, including a forthcoming monograph to be published by Steidl/Fuel.
and further information contact Joanna Stella-Sawicka at Counter Gallery
on 020 7684 8888 or firstname.lastname@example.org