Tracey Emin: I hope to ‘get past Christmas’ following cancer diagnosis

Tracey Emin has said she hopes to "get past Christmas" following her cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

The artist, 57, was diagnosed in spring and underwent an operation in the summer after discovering the tumour in her bladder while working on a painting of a malignant lump.

Emin, known for works such as the tent Everyone I Have Ever Slept With and My Bed, told the Sunday Times Magazine she does not want to "waste time".

She spoke of overcoming depression last year following the death of her 19-year-old cat, Docket, by deciding to move house, which helped her deal with the news of the diagnosis.

A Fortnight of Tears
Tracey Emin said she could 'deal' with her cancer diagnosis (Kirsty O'Connor/PA)

Emin told the magazine: "When I found out I had the cancer, I could deal with it because I thought, this has actually come at a good time, not a bad time.

"I was feeling happy, excited about my future – anything could happen, like the stars were aligning.

"I just felt really good. I'm excited about moving to my new house. I want to stay indoors and paint. I want to work. I don't want to waste time."

Asked what her ambitions are now, she said: "Well, it's a lot different from what it was before, to get past Christmas would be a good one."

Many of her reproductive organs were removed during the operation and she was fitted with a stoma bag.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 23: HRH Queen Elizabeth II meets artist Tracey Emin at a special 'Celebration of the Arts' event at the Royal Academy of Arts on May 23, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Carl Court - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Artist Tracey Emin at the White Cube gallery in Hoxton Square, north London, where she unveiled her latest exhibition, You Forgot to Kiss My Soul. (Photo by Johnny Green - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON - SEPTEMBER 2: Artist Tracey Emin falls down at the GQ Magazine Awards September 2, 2003 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Westing/Getty Images)
LONDON - JULY 5: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) (L-R) Artist Tracey Emin, Rolling Stones musician Ronnie Wood, Jo Howard, Stereophonics singer Kelly Jones and World Snooker Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan attend Ronnie Woods' Private Screening of The South Bank Show featuring his life and Art at the Charlotte Street Hotel on July 5, 2004 in London. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Lily Allen and Tracey Emin attend the Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year Awards at The Dorchester in central London. (Photo by Johnny Green/PA Images via Getty Images)
Tracey Emin, Elizabeth Hurley, Fran Drescher and Yvonne Scio (Photo by Toni Anne Barson Archive/WireImage)
LONDON - OCTOBER 18: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) British artist Tracey Emin attends the Longchamp party to launch bags she designed at Portland Place London on October 18, 2004 in London, England. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales speaks with Tracey Emin as they attend a reception hosted by himself and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall for the Elephant Family Animal Ball at Clarence House on June 13, 2019 in London, England. Elephant Family is an international NGO dedicated to protecting the Asian elephant from extinction in the wild. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Tracey Emin attend a reception hosted by the Duchess and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales for the Elephant Family Animal Ball at Clarence House on June 13, 2019 in London, England. Elephant Family is an international NGO dedicated to protecting the Asian elephant from extinction in the wild. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Jo Whiley and Tracey Emin during the UK Music Hall of Fame - live final at Hackney Empire in east London. (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON - NOVEMBER 23: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) (L-R) Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and artist Tracey Emin attend party for men's magazine Arena Homme Plus, thrown on behalf of Alexander McQueen by Arena Magazine to celebrate his Mens Designer of the Year award by the British Fashion council, at Bistrotheque on November 23, 2004 in London. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON - FEBRUARY 15: Model Helena Christensen (R) and artist Tracey Emin pose in the awards room at the Elle Style Awards 2005 at Spitalfields Market on February 15, 2005 in London. Christensen won Style Icon award. (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 23: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Tracey Emin (L) and Joan Collins attend 'A Celebration Of The Arts' at Royal Academy of Arts on May 23, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: (L-R) Mentors Heston Blumenthal, Tracey Emin and Richard E. Grant attends the official launch of Flight BA2012 at Flight BA2012 pop-up restaurant, cinema and gallery space on April 3, 2012 in London, England. As official airline partner of the 2012 London Olympics, British Airways has launched its London 2012 inspired menu, short-film and aircraft, available to customers from April onwards. The content is produced by BA Great Britons who were mentored by Heston Blumenthal, Richard E Grant and Tracey Emin. For more visit: facebook.com/britishairways (Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images For British Airways)
NORTHAMPTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 10: (UK MAGAZINES OUT, EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Actor Orlando Bloom and artist Tracey Emin attend the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation Launch Party at Althorp House on June 10, 2006 in Northampton, England. The night is themed 'A Midsummer Russian Fantasy' at Diana, Princess of Wales's family home to launch the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation - an international fund fighting child cancer. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON - SEPTEMBER 05: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) (L-R) Dylan Jones, Tracey Emin and Piers Morgan attend the after party for GQ Men Of The Year Awards, at the Royal Opera House on September 5, 2006 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
Tracey Emin stands before the flag she was commissioned to create for the Southbank Centre (bearing the slogan, 'One Secret Is to Save Everything'), as it is hoisted in the air at the Jubilee Flagpole in Jubilee Gardens, south London. (Photo by Joel Ryan - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON - JUNE 29: Tracey Emin walks to the Royal Albert Hall before receiving her honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art on June 29, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
LONDON - JULY 11: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) (L-R) Artist Damien Hirst, Actor Dennis Hopper and Artist Tracey Emin attend the Serpentine Summer Party at The Serpentine Gallery on July 11, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
Artist Tracey Emin stands next to a panel in the Tate Britain where the gallery's Christmas tree usually stands. This year Tracey has donated a Christmas Tree to Lighthouse West London - a centre for people with and affected by AIDS and HIV - where it will be situated until early January. *..At Tate Britain, Emin presents a canvas with a text inviting visitors to make a donation to the charity in return for the opportunity to win an original artwork by the artist. (Photo by Johnny Green - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Scott Douglas, Billy Connolly and Tracey Emin attend the South Bank Show Awards, at The Dorchester on January 26, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON - SEPTEMBER 04: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) (L-R) Scott McKnee, Orlando Bloom and Tracey Emin attend the GQ Men Of The Year Awards, at the Royal Opera House on September 4, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON - APRIL 27: Tracey Emin attends her Exhibition at The White Cube on April 27, 2001 in London. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
English artist Tracey Emin poses for photographs at London's Victoria Station in central London, 25 September 2007, as twelve international artists take part in a photocall to launch the first Folkestone Triennial, an international art project opening in June 2008. AFP PHOTO/SHAUN CURRY (Photo credit should read SHAUN CURRY/AFP via Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY LUCIE GODEAU-BRITAIN-ENT-ART-EXHIBITION-EMIN A work of art by artist Tracey Emin entitled 'My Bed' is pictured at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, on 18 August, 2008. The exhibition looks back over 20 years of her work and is part of the Edinburgh Art Festival. AFP PHOTO/Ed Jones (Photo credit should read ED Jones/AFP via Getty Images)
James Nesbitt poses with Tracey Emin and the award for best TV Personality at the GQ Men of the Year Awards 2008, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. (Photo by Zak Hussein - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Tracey Emin during the Fashion for Relief show during London Fashion Week at the BFC Tent, Natural History Museum, London. (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: British artist Tracey Emin poses next to one of her works at her new show entitled "When I Think about Sex..." at the White Cube Gallery in London 26 May, 2005. The show will run 27 May to 25 June. AFP PHOTO/ODD ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Gary Kemp, Tracey Emin and Martin Kemp attend the Spandau Ballet DVD Launch Party, at the Groucho Club on November 30, 2009 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 24: Tracey Emin and Vivienne Westwood attend the ICA fundraising gala at KOKO on March 24, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Jon Furniss/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: Artist Tracey Emin poses with former Olympic posters during a photocall at Tate Britain on June 20, 2011 in London, England. The photocall was held to announce the 12 artists who have been commissioned to design the new posters for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
NBCUNIVERSAL EVENTS -- UK Creative Industries Reception -- Pictured: (l-r) Tracey Emin, Lulu -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
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Since her operation, Emin has been unable to paint, although she has worked on a series of photographs of her own body as part of an "existential" project.

Speaking about the painting of a tumour she was working on, she told Artnet: "It's exactly the same as my bladder with the tumour in it, before I knew I had the cancer – it's brilliant!"

Emin recently completed a new collection, Detail of Love, which opens this month in Brussels.

She told the publication: "At my age now, love is a completely different dimension and level of understanding.

"I don't want children, I don't want all the things that you might subconsciously crave when you're young – I just want love.

"And as much love as I can possibly have. I want to be smothered in it, I want to be devoured by it. And I think that is OK."

She also reflected on the Me Too movement and how she had previously been criticised for discussing her own experience of sexual assault.

Emin said: "Now, there is a language for women to express themselves, thanks to Me Too.

"It's good that times are catching up, but I wish I hadn't been accused of being narcissistic back then."

Recent years have seen Emin move from London to her home town of Margate and sell her home in Miami, temporarily giving up drinking and socialising to focus on her work.

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