Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Photographed Life

“I had thought I could stave off loss through photographing.
But the pictures show me how much I've lost.”
Nan Goldin

For the American photographic artist Nan Goldin her photography is all about memories which she combines with music to create slideshows that narrate the often multi-faceted stories to which they allude.

As she explained to foto Tapeta “My genius, if I have any, is in the slideshows, in the narratives. It is not in making perfect images. It is in the groupings of work. It is in relationships I have with other people.

Employing a snapshot aesthetic, it’s the relationships between her subjects in her content as much as in her presentation which along with her questioning of the accepted social zeitgeist that intrigues. As she told the Observer Newspaper’s Sheryl Garratt “The music we were brought up on, the TV, the movies, the images our parents gave us aren't of what relationships are really like. They didn't prepare me, at least, for the ambivalence that's normal in any real relationship.”

Goldin came to attention on the mainstream art world in her early 30’s when her 800 image 45 minute long slideshow The Ballad of Sexual Dependency was shown at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art.

What started out as an entertainment for and staring her friends living of the fringes of society over time evolved into a confessional depiction of the difficulties of communication between the sexes and the desires that bind people together in general and Goldin’s relationship in particular. Which she has described as “this big love affair that was sort of a threesome between him and me and drugs.”

With a vast archive of images, a camera has been Goldin’s constant companion for over 50 years, she continues to add to it with photographs of her current friends. All of which she edits and re-edits creating new interpretations of the past and often juxtaposing them with the present.

At the presentation to Goldin of the 53rd Edward MacDowell Medal in 2012 the writer and critic Luc Sante stated “Nan Goldin’s photographs of her life, her friends and her family — unflinchingly honest, nakedly emotional, sometimes brutal, but most often tender — redefined the autobiographical use of photography and influenced everyone who has come after her. In addition, her use of the slideshow as a medium just about constituted a medium unto itself, halfway between still photography and cinema. Along the way, her approach to love, gender and sexuality has forever altered the depiction of woman and gay and transgender people.”

Goldin’s current exhibition Scopophilia is on show at Hanover’s kestnergesellschaft until the 27th of September.


Marika Herskovic said...

I am highly impressed with the clarity of your writing.

Henry Bateman said...

Thanks Marika

Blogger said...

BlueHost is ultimately the best hosting company with plans for any hosting needs.