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Tracey Emin's My Bed and Tina Turner sculpture among most famous to appear at Margate's Turner Contemporary as it turns 10

After more than a week in bed drifting in and out of an alcoholic haze, enough was enough for Tracey Emin.

Then in her mid-30s, the Margate-raised artist turned her surroundings into her most famous work to date.

Artist Tracey Emin with My Bed Picture: Stephen White
Artist Tracey Emin with My Bed Picture: Stephen White

Before 1998 the unmade bed in her Waterloo council flat was just that.

But since then the depressing scene, set amongst a sea of vodka bottles, condoms and stained underwear, has become a thing of beauty for Emin.

My Bed may be 13 years older than the Turner Contemporary but it remains the most well-known exhibit to appear in its creator's home-town gallery since in opened in 2011.

The artist also gave her face to the gallery, or at least a sculpture of it.

Tracey Emin's Death Mask Picture: Jorge Herrera
Tracey Emin's Death Mask Picture: Jorge Herrera

The bronze Death Mask went on display in the summer of 2019 with Emin saying the work offered herself as a permanent display which can be scrutinised and observed by future generations.

Pre-dating the gallery by even longer than a '90s bed, JMW Turner's landscapes, a series which includes Margate (?), from the sea, are shaped by his early life in the coastal town.

JMW Turner's Tantallon Castle, 1821, which was on display at the gallery
JMW Turner's Tantallon Castle, 1821, which was on display at the gallery

His paintings, which date back to the first half of the 1800s, have been carefully selected over the past decade to complement other works on display at his eponymous gallery.

In 2019, 20 Turner creations accompanied an exhibition which allowed visitors to smell one of the planet Saturn's moons.

Scottish artist Katie Paterson teamed up with NASA for the project, which also saw her launch a meteorite back into space.

She selected some of Turner's watercolours which demonstrated nature's "vastness" from the Tate's collection.

Katie Paterson's work Totality
Katie Paterson's work Totality

From one Turner to another and to mark the gallery hosting the Turner Prize in 2019 a seven-metre high inflatable sculpture of singer Tina Turner's head was unveiled at the town's Dreamland theme park.

The divisive model, which was later given away in a competition, housed a karaoke booth and was dubbed 'hideous' by 48% of KentOnline readers.

The Tina Turner head sculpture which went on show at Dreamland in Margate
The Tina Turner head sculpture which went on show at Dreamland in Margate

That year's prize is memorable for a few reasons, not least the outcome, which saw all four finalists crowned joint champions.

But before then the artist who was tipped to win was the one who transported his work in perhaps the strangest way to date.

Oscar Murillo took his 20 life-size effigies on a train to Margate, before perching them on church pews to explore themes of labour and exploitation.

He was the 2-1 favourite to clinch the coveted prize according to William Hill but after a conversation with fellow artists Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock and Tai Shani the spoils were shared.

Oscar Murillo's Turner Prize exhibition
Oscar Murillo's Turner Prize exhibition

When Murillo's train-load of effigies rolled into Margate another life-size sculpture was ready to welcome them.

Antony Gormley's Another Time saw 100 iron casts of the sculptor's body placed around the UK – including one on the chalk bed outside the Turner which is fully submerged at high tide.

It came 10 years after 2007's Another Place which saw 100 identical sculptors installed by the Angel of the North creator on Crosby Beach in Merseyside.

Initially set to stay until November 2017, the iron figure will now stare out to sea until 2030.

Antony Gormley's sculpture Another Time outside the Turner in Margate
Antony Gormley's sculpture Another Time outside the Turner in Margate

More than 100 self-portraits from the 16th century to the present day were displayed in 2015 to show the development of the "selfie".

Central to the exhibition was the last known self-portrait by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, court painter to Charles I. Regarded as Britain’s first “celebrity” artist, he was also the most influential portrait painter ever to have worked in Britain and his legacy was to last for the next three centuries.

Other artists featured included Louise Bourgeois, John Constable, Tracey Emin, Lucian Freud, Damien Hirst, David Hockney and JMW Turner.

But it's not just depictions of the famous which have adorned the walls of the gallery.

To mark this year's 10th anniversary, Gillingham artist Gio Cuison's oil painting of a worker in a roadside burger van was selected for display.

The Burger Van is part of an exhibition which will occupy all four galleries at the Turner for six months.

The gallery itself has even become the subject of art, featuring alongside JMW Turner and Margate lighthouse on the new £20 note.

Since opening, the Turner has become one of the UK's leading galleries, displaying the work of 2,000 artists and putting £70 million back into the Kent economy.

Situated at the heart of one of the south east's most deprived districts, it has worked with 100,000 children and young people over the past decade.

Click here for more on how the gallery is marking its 10th birthday.

To find out what’s going on in the county and for all the latest entertainment news click here.

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