The artist shares his life on Instagram with a daily journal of written thoughts, pictures and short films from his bathroom and studio.
The newspaper was commissioned by the White Cube gallery and will be followed by week-long Instagram journals from other artists, including Antony Gormley and Sarah Morris.
Susan May, art director of the gallery, said it was a way of staying in touch with voices “that often help us see the world differently.”
“Collective experience is something that artists are able to communicate so effectively, and at a time when many of us are confined in a way beyond our control, art and artists can somehow way to help us try to make sense of the situation. “
Emin’s journal is typically brutally autobiographical. The first day there was a film of her in the bath with a tray of coffee and hot rolls and the sound of water flowing from the taps. She wrote: “Today I would be happy … today I would celebrate my loneliness … if I was not filled with too strong a feeling of fear … A darkness … that made me want to live more than ever. “
On the third day, she wrote, “I’m angry … but I don’t have the energy to show it … she lives in me, purifies, moves, takes control of my soul. She yelled at a stranger, “Between the lines, you fucking idiot.” “
Other days, there were short clips from her studio, where she was talking about a painting she had been working on for six months. “It’s not over … it’s never over. “
The sixth day and Emin filmed his studio at 4:45 am, showing the sofa on which she sleeps, “if I sleep”. On the seventh day, “the last day for now,” she painted “I wanted you to fuck me so much that I couldn’t paint” on the work.
Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones said the paper was “not just a sharp response to these frightening times, but a subtle meditation on how art can get to them.”
He added, “It starts as a seemingly random tale of his self-isolation in his home in Spitalfields, but becomes a short story about the life of an artist. It’s actually quite optimistic because it shows how to exist in solitude – inside your feelings, your perceptions, your creativity. “
Jones noted that the epic web Emin was working on continued to darken. “She can’t help but slap more black. In a plague year, is there another color to paint? “
Emin is one of many contemporary artists to use Instagram while locking. Damien Hirst’s articles are happy snapshots of the studio on how he works. On Wednesday, he wrote “I love painting” and posted a short film from his studio on the progress made with huge new paintings of cherry blossoms.
The trunks and branches of the trees he painted were too thick, he said. The solution? Paint blue sky lines showing in the middle of them. “It creates layers,” he says. “I didn’t like it until now. “
Other artists give practical advice. Kara Walker, the American artist whose giant fountain filled Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall until it closed, has published #confinementbookclub tips, the latest being Wade Davis’ The Serpent and the Rainbow.
Artist Bob and Roberta Smith regularly publish #StayAtHome art assignments such as painting clouds and a statement to a loved one on Friday morning.
He said, “I think artists, writers, poets, musicians, composers have a responsibility to keep working and keep doing things. Other people continue to work, NHS workers, the local store, workers refuse … so we should. This is important because it is now that people really understand what culture is. “