The hurtful family secrets that brought my famous twin back to me: On the eve of Tracey Emin's major new exhibition her twin brother reveals their painful bondPaul and Tracey who were raised by their mother Pauline were inseparable when they were young
Their childhood idyll was shattered when they discovered their father Enver had another family and three other children
23:54 GMT, 19 May 2012
This Friday, the concrete and glass halls of Margate’s Turner Contemporary gallery will echo to the sound of champagne corks popping and the conversational hubbub of distinguished guests, punctuated perhaps by the occasional nervous laugh from Tracey Emin.
The artist is hosting a private viewing in her home town to mark the formal opening of her exhibition, She Lay Down Deep Beneath The Sea, which features both new and existing works on the themes of love and sensuality.
But the viewing represents far more than just a homecoming for Tracey. It will also be a hugely significant family event.
Connection: Tracey Emin and her twin brother Paul were close when they were six-years-old (pictured) and the bond remains strong
Tracey is to meet 11-year-old Jaden, the long-estranged son of her twin brother Paul, for the first time.
Paul says: ‘It was Tracey’s idea to invite Jaden to the private viewing. She invited my son and his mother Louise, which was very sweet of her.
'Tracey is very good at pulling all of the family together.’
It will be a poignant moment for the artist, 48, who is unable to have children of her own following an operation for endometriosis, and who recently said that her sex life was probably over.
She considered adopting children but her experiences as the child of a single parent seem to have made her decide against it.
Tracey and Paul have followed profoundly different paths. She is Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy.
One of her neon light installations resides in 10 Downing Street, her work sells for astronomical sums and she has met the Queen.
He is currently a dealer in architectural antiques and was once a carpenter, but cannot be said to have enjoyed unqualified success in either field.
However, while circumstances may have occasionally strained the ties between them, they have never actually broken.
Both now seem ready to move on to a new phase in their relationship, with Tracey’s desire to meet her nephew the catalyst.
Close: Paul and Tracey (pictured in 2002) were raised by their mother Pauline and were inseparable as children and even when they were young sharing a private language
Paul and Tracey, raised by their mother Pauline, were inseparable as children. Paul, who lives in Deal, Kent, says: ‘As twins, we have always shared a common bond and even, when we were young, a private language.
'No matter where we are, that connection is still there. When we were babies, we slept in the same crib and one night I kept crying.
‘My mother came up to settle me, but by the time she reached the bottom of the stairs I was crying again.
'When she came back up, Mum realised Tracey was suffocating after rolling over on a pillow.'
But their childhood idyll was shattered when they discovered the reason that their father Enver flitted in and out of their lives.
Paul says: ‘It wasn’t until we went to school that our mother told us that we had to share our father because he had another family and three other children by a woman called Sheila.
‘Initially, Sheila resented my mother Pamela, but over the years the rift was healed.’
'Ladies' man: Enver Emin was absent during Tracey and Paul's childhood and they had to 'share' him with his other family
Enver, a one-time property developer, claimed that Sheila had given her blessing to the affair and his dual life had been ‘open and above-board’.
Tracey later told her father: ‘It was never above board, Dad! It’s not above board to have two families, right’
The twins’ contact with their father was limited largely to his periodic visits to their Margate home.
Paul says: ‘This was a bittersweet experience because he would turn up out of nowhere and take us off for a picnic or a birthday party.
'On one occasion he turned up at our home dressed as Father Christmas with lots of presents, and for several years afterwards Tracey and I thought Santa was this dark exotic Turkish man.’
Tracey and Paul had to get used to their father’s inherent unreliability as well as his sense of fun.
Paul says: ‘You also never quite knew what to expect with him. We could be on a day out with our parents and then my father would tell us that he had to pop out and see someone, and you would be stuck there in the car for two hours while he cut a business deal.
‘For two restless seven-year-olds, this was not the best experience, but that was our father: he was always wheeling and dealing.’
Enver later turned his hand to the import/export business, travelling across Africa, Asia, Turkey and Cyprus.
Paul says: ‘I think that this gave Tracey and me the idea that you could do anything. But whether it was money or a woman, it was the chase that motivated Dad above all else.
‘He was a ladies’ man and he was always suited and booted. He loved his suits and was one of the snappiest dressers in London and I think, in part, Tracey got her love of clothes from my father.
'The fact that Dad had so many different women and different lives made a big impact on Tracey, as well as me.
‘There was a secret world there because Dad was so often absent, and I think that this comes across in Tracey’s art.
‘Tracey is, contrary to what people think, actually a very private person and that must reflect my father’s influence to a certain extent.’
While Tracey was laying the foundations for a career that would bring her international acclaim and make her millions of pounds, Paul was drifting into crime.
Two decades ago, he served an 18-month jail sentence for fraud. Meanwhile, Jaden is one of three children he has by three different women. He is estranged from his other children.
Family ties: Tracey Emin is to meet 11-year-old Jaden (pictured left), the long-estranged son of her twin brother Paul (pictured right) for the first time at the opening of her new show in Margate
Paul says: ‘I was living in Ramsgate with Jaden and Louise when I started mixing with the wrong crowd. I was getting drunk all the time, and Louise and I grew apart. She left me.
‘I carried on hitting the self-destruct button and then realised that my mental health had deteriorated. It was decided I needed a break and I went to Australia in 2003 to sort myself out.
'Afterwards I sold the house, moved to Deal to get myself out of that environment and lost contact with Louise and Jaden.'
His relationship with Tracey also had its ups and downs. She has helped him out financially but has occasionally grown exasperated with his precarious lifestyle and there have been periods in which they did not speak to each other.
However, Enver’s death two years ago made Paul realise he was echoing the behaviour patterns of his father.
Then, a chance meeting with a former business partner prompted a reconciliation with Louise.
Paul says: ‘His wife used to know Louise, and eventually I managed to get in contact with Louise and Jaden through her.
‘About a year ago, I met Jaden for the first time since he was a baby. It was very emotional and we cried a lot.
‘At first I spoilt him because I had so much guilt in me. He had not had so much as a Christmas or birthday card from me, but I began to realise that I was repeating what my father had done with me.
‘I then emailed Tracey a picture of Jaden and she was very happy that I had got in contact with my son.
Huge success:Tracey Emin, pictured here in 2004, has become one of Britain's most celebrated living artists
‘Tracey could have laid into me because of the way I had behaved, but she didn’t and I respect her for that.She was non-judgmental. Perhaps our childhood played a part in that.’
Paul believes that his father’s unconventional lifestyle has taken its toll on him and Tracey.
He says: ‘I have found it difficult to sustain a long-term relationship. I have never been able to live with another person for more than four years.
'I simply had no role model. I think that when Tracey was younger, there was an element of searching for a father figure to compensate for our father’s absence.
‘But when she was in her 20s, Tracey became close to our father. In our own ways, Tracey and I have been determined to succeed and on our own terms, which was very much like Dad.
‘We wanted to show him that we could be successful and we wanted to live up to his expectations and get his approval.’
Enver, who was 89 when he died, had spoken of his pride at his daughter’s success and his conviction that her art lay in her childhood.
He said: ‘She expresses her feelings, she expresses what happens. I think deep down her motive is her childhood.’
He had also acknowledged that his frequent absences from her life caused problems.
He said: ‘Sometimes I had to talk to her when she couldn’t understand why I couldn’t be there with her all the time.’
Paul believes that their father provided at least some of the inspiration for his sister’s success.
He says of the exotic holidays that Enver sometimes took them on: ‘Our father’s warmth and generosity took us all over the world, opening our eyes to its wonders and its arts, and a sense that anything was achievable if you really wanted it.
‘But Tracey and I also had to share our father with another family and it was his absence as well as his presence that shaped both our lives. In Tracey’s case, I believe it has also helped to determine the direction of her art.’
Much of Tracey’s art is autobiographical and confessional, and it has frequently focused on sex.
She first came to prominence in 1997 with her work Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-95 – a tent covered with names.
Two years later, her installation My Bed, which consisted of her own unmade bed and included dirty linen, used condoms and bloodstained underwear, was nominated for the Turner Prize.
However, Tracey recently admitted that her libido had vanished and said: ‘I don’t look at myself in a sexual way.’
Despite, or perhaps because of, the controversy Tracey is now regarded as part of the British art establishment.
Indeed, she has achieved national treasure status and in Margate, a town she has done much to promote, she is virtually revered.
Tracey, as one of Britain’s most celebrated living artists, is undoubtedly Margate’s most famous daughter. She loves the town and the town loves her.
She officially opened the 17 million Turner Contemporary gallery last year and she has said of her new exhibition: ‘The pressure is huge.
'I want lots of people to go to see it because it will be good for Margate. I want them to run out of ice cream on the beach.’
In a personal invitation to residents asking them to come to her show, she wrote: ‘If you haven’t been to the gallery yet, you should. It’s fantastic and free. I really hope you can come.’
New show: The art work Laying On Blue by Tracey Emin features in a new exhibition of her work in Margate which is her home town
Confessional: Tracey Emin's new show in Margate which opens on Saturday will feature the paintings titled I Said No (left) and Last In Love (right)
‘Tracey is really happy about the move, without a shadow of a doubt.’
For Paul, the success of his sister has thrown the difficulties of his own life into stark relief.
That has not always been easy to bear, but now he says: ‘There are positives and negatives, but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. It opens doors.
‘I am happy with everything in my life and immensely proud of Tracey. I am looking forward to introducing my son to her this Friday.
‘She has said nothing about the meeting to me, but we can talk about that when we meet. We can confide in one another. We are twins, after all.’
* She Lay Down Deep Beneath The Sea: Tracey Emin is at Turner Contemporary in Margate, Kent, from May 26 to September 23.