LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph

About Nan Goldin


SCOPOPHILIAcomes from the Greek ʻscopoʼ, to look , and ʻphiliaʼ, love of friends.”“The first time I was totally alone at the Louvre, when the museum was closed to the public, I had a very intense reaction that surprised me. In my solitude in the silence of the space – I was suddenly reawakened. The painting provoked the overwhelming feeling, it has been described to me as scopophilia: the intense desire and the fulfillment of that desire experienced through looking.”

“For me taking a picture is a way of touching somebody-it’s a caress. I’m looking with a warm eye, not a cold eye. I’m not analyzing what’s going on-I just get inspired to take a picture by the beauty and vulnerability of my friends.” – Nan Goldin

Invited by Patrice Chéreau to produce a new opus related to the theme and exhibition Faces and Bodies at the Louvre, Nan Goldin has created a slideshow composed of her own photographs – of which a great number have never before been seen – and those she took at the Louvre over a period of eight months with a collaborator. The slideshow runs for twenty-five minutes and features an original soundtrack by Alain Mahé which includes Ovidʼs Metamorphoses sung in Latin and other medieval music sung along with ambient sounds. The artist often refers to the myth of Pygmalion as sharing a similar sentiment: “The idea of taking a picture of a sculpture or a painting in the attempt to bring it to life, this desire awoken by images is the projectʼs true starting point.

Nan Goldin received a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Tufts University, Boston, in 1977. In 1978 she moved to New York where she continued to document her “extended family.” These photographs became the subject
of her slide shows and Goldinʼs first book, “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency.” She has exhibited at such prestigious venues as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Tate Modern in London and The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Her film “Sisters Saints and Sibyls” pays homage to her sister Barbara, whose rebellion and suicide have so deeply marked her life and work. In 2006, Goldin was awarded the prestigious “Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres” by the government of France in recognition for her significant contribution to the arts.

Currently she works and lives both in Paris and New York.

“Nan Goldin takes unforgettable photographs. They make a point, a liberating point… about sensuality, about candor, about affection. They combat moralistic bullshit. I admire her spirit and I admire her art.” – Susan Sontag