En-route to Tracey Emin’s 20 Years exhibition at Edinburgh's Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, I decided to go with an open mind, although the thought of going to see an exhibition by one of the infamous YBA set instilled an amount of scathing scepticism that another abbreviation, WAG, instantly incites in me. Tracey Emin has, quite possibly, become bigger than her art. Love her or loathe her, she has however been a predominant name in British art for over a decade, and this exhibition showcased many of her pieces from, well, the last 20 years. I always imagined I would love to meet the legendary Emin down the pub for a pint and a chat (or a coffee as nowadays she is teetotal), but I was never really too sure where I stood on her actual art. Now was the time to find out...< From the exhibition’s outset, I was thrown into the turbulent and traumatic world of Mad Tracey from Margate, where sex, discos and drinking were the essential components of an average evening for the teenage Tracey. Her appliqué blanket Hotel International is a visual diary of this period, with little anecdotes crammed into the various patches that make up the work. Other highlights in this section included a series of drawings of childhood scenes, many with rather disturbing images – Freud would have had a field-day over the young Emin’s mind. There were many highlights, one of which was “My Bed”, a work which is now so notorious that seeing it right there in front of me was a bit of a disappointment. I expected it to be really disgraceful and disgusting, which it was, but I wasn’t shocked. Perhaps I have become somewhat anesthetised to it's effect, as it has become such an iconic image in modern British art. Other highlights included “Exorcism of the Last Painting I ever made”, which I found really arresting due to sheer violence that her paint seemed to evoke, and “Why I Never Became a Dancer”, which was the best advertisement ever for the joy of dancing - for anyone who fails to understand the pleasure of dancing in night-clubs, this is the video to show them: Emin’s ecstasy radiates out of the screen as she flails and steps and twirls. Gallery-goers were even toe-tapping and quietly bopping – not usual art gallery etiquette, but it seemed very fitting for a Tracey Emin exhibition. Before the exhibition, I hadn’t realised how many multiple mediums Emin works with in her art. She produces fabric blankets, huge wooden structures including a replica fairground track, paintings on canvas, photography, video, framed memorabilia, drawings – as an artist she transcends many boundaries by mixing up her mediums, and as a result of such a vast array, I was never bored. I was impressed. I also was struck by the huge importance of words to her art –her humungous blankets are essentially word art, and having seen the exhibition, I am well aware that Emin is a fantastic storyteller. Emin is clearly a communicator, who fuses words and image together to great visual effect. Although I walked away feeling that she is a bit of an emotional slut, or “slag” as they called her in Margate (she really puts it all out there for us to see), today we live in such a confessional culture that this makes Emin an artist who seems very representative of such modern times. Emin’s work reeked of excess, of stale fags and drunken debaucheries on expensive vodka (noted by the various booze bottles and empty fag packets that littered her works). As a female, I felt I could relate to Emin – with pregnancy, abortion and sex as the main themes, her art is not inaccessible for your average female. Perhaps Emin’s appliqué blankets are the most symbolic of the exhibition – each individual piece of fabric is woven together by Emin to create a whole, and similarly in the exhibition, each artwork is an insight into Tracey Emin’s last 20 years as an artist. Furthermore, each patch of each blanket enables Emin to externalise another episode in her life, where every piece of fabric mirrors the fabric of her life, gradually coming together piece by piece. In the last 20 years, it seems to have come together for Mad Tracey From Margate, and I was glad to have glimpsed into this intensely personal journey, this transition, to Tracey Emin the artist.