Henrietta Cullinan

Do you know how to blanket stitch?

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After the Estorick I crept on a very slow bus to the White Cube, Mason’s Yard. for Tracey Emin’s show. No peering here. This atmosphere was all loud voices and posh scent. I’m obviously not used to St. James’ gallery up market tempo. There was a jittery animation and the title in green neon. Downstairs the huge work begins. That filled me with huge respect, reminded me,  how authoratitive.

I completely disagree with the Telegraph’s comment, ‘an idiot savant outsider who represents no one but herself’ . I felt so closely involved by the work I was shocked when a group of noisy young men came bouncing down the stairs. ‘Hey no, you can’t come in, go away!’ 

 Some scraps of material were made with sitiches so tiny I could hardly see if it was sewing or drawing. The mono prints where some of the writing is forwards and some backwards create doubt about what we’re allowed to read.

I went to see the exhibition in the South London Gallery in 1997. The thing that irks me now as then is the crass slogans ‘I need art like I need god’ and this one, ‘Those who suffer love’

But the huge blankets are truly wonderful and masterful, telling me what’s what, communicate directly intimately with me as a woman in my forties.

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