Tracey Emin neon lights up 10 Downing Street

AP News
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Posted: Aug 21, 2011 7:52 AM
Tracey Emin neon lights up 10 Downing Street

A new message is greeting visitors to the home of Britain's prime minister: "More Passion."

The words, rendered in dazzling neon, are a work by artist Tracey Emin that that is now hanging in 10 Downing St.

Prime Minister David Cameron's office said Sunday that the work was installed earlier this week in a busy hallway, above the door to Downing St.'s Terracotta Room.

It stands in contrast to the oil paintings and portraits of former prime ministers elsewhere in the 300-year-old house, which serves as the British leader's office and London home.

Emin said earlier this year that she wanted to hang a piece in Downing St. to give the building "a bit of an edge." She was invited to install the neon sign by Cameron, a fan of her work.

One of the "Young British Artists" who burst onto the art scene in the 1990s, Emin is renowned for her provocative and confessional art. Her most famous works include a recreation of her disheveled bed _ complete with soiled clothing and empty vodka bottles _ and an appliqued tent entitled "Everyone I Have Ever Slept With."

She also has created a series of neon messages _ most of them heartfelt, some of them rude.

Emin, 48, said she would keep her message clean for Downing St.

"It has to be something that will relate to different people on different levels because of all the dignitaries and world leaders and religious groups who go to No. 10, so it has to be something that's fitting for that situation," she was quoted as saying by the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

Emin has donated the piece to the Government Art Collection, a trove of more than 13,000 works by British artists from the 16th century onwards.

The works, which range from paintings by Hans Holbein, John Constable and J.M.W. Turner to pieces by Emin and Damien Hirst, are used to adorn government buildings and British embassies.

Jill Lawless can be reached at: http://twitter.com/JillLawless