Artists Nan Goldin
Date 29.10.2022 - 26.02.2023
Curator The exhibition is supported by Kvadrat and Sahco.
Venue Moderna Museet, Stockholm
“I have always wanted to be a filmmaker. My slideshows are films made up of stills,” says Nan Goldin.
Moderna Museet’s retrospective is the first exhibition to present a comprehensive overview of Goldin’s work as a filmmaker. The exhibition is installed in six unique buildings designed by Hala Wardé, an architect who frequently works with Goldin. Each building is designed in response to the specific piece. Together they constitute a village.
The exhibition is comprised of: “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” (1981–2022) her magnum opus; “The Other Side” (1992– 2021) a historical portrait produced as an homage to her trans friends whom she photographed 1972–2010; “Sisters, Saints and Sibyls” (2004–2022) a testament to the trauma of families and suicide; “Fire Leap” (2010–2022) a foray into the world of children; “Memory Lost” (2019–2021) a claustrophobic journey through drug withdrawal; and “Sirens” (2019–2020) a trip into drug ecstasy.
Nan Goldin (born in Washington D.C. in 1953) is one of the most high-profile artists of our time. Her work’s exploration of the human experience is legendary and has profoundly influenced subsequent generations. Her first work, “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency”, documents life in Provincetown, the Lower East Side, Berlin and London beginning in the 1970s and 80s and up to the present day. Goldin photographed the world of her inner circle of creative, bohemian friends with raw tenderness. Her photographs give us snapshots of intimacy and coupling, the quotidian and wild parties, and the struggle between autonomy and dependency.
The core of Goldin’s artistic practice
Of the generation whose experiences were defined by the freedom of life before AIDS and an alternative world outside normative society, Goldin’s work also stands as a document of the times. Around 1980 Goldin began presenting her slideshows in various clubs and public venues in New York, as well as at underground cinemas and film festivals in Europe. She updated and reedited her slideshow every time and used multiple projectors, which she operated against the background of an eclectic soundtrack. Goldin’s ability to revisit these slideshows has since formed the core of her artistic practice. Over the past 40 years Goldin has produced a dozen different slideshows – from portraits of her friends to accounts of traumatic family events. Since then, she has added elements into her works such as moving images, voices and archival materials.
P.A.I.N. and ground-breaking paradigms of visual expression
Nan Goldin has always grappled with social issues such as gender, mental health and AIDS, albeit through various approaches. “Memory Lost” which also forms part of the current exhibition, is an evocation of the darkest sides of drug addiction. In 2017 Goldin founded P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now), a direct action group that specifically targeted the Sackler family. The group holds the billionaire family accountable for igniting the epidemic opioid overdose crisis. The Sacklers are a major donor to many prominent international museums. However, many of these institutions have reacted to pressure from P.A.I.N. and removed all trace of the Sackler name from their premises.
Alongside Goldin’s influence on art and the art world,it is also difficult to think of today’s fashion and advertising photography without reflecting on her ground- breaking paradigms of visual expression. Many commentators have also pointed to parallels between Goldin’s obsessive chronicling of her circle of friends and our own era’s social media and the ubiquitous eye of our mobile phones’ cameras.
Ironic humor and warmth
While the title of the exhibition “This Will Not End Well” may seem dark and foreboding, it is also full of ironic humour and warmth. The titel is an affirmation of what Fredrik Liew, curator for the retrospective, describes as Goldin’s ’characteristically unshakeable joie de vivre.’