Nan Goldin • Heart-shaped bruise, NYC, 1980 • color slide • From The Ballad of Sexual Dependency SOURCE: Artforum.com
The Ballad... is perhaps one of the most challenging and emotionally raw works of art I have ever scene. In addition to being a slide show, it has been published as a book, which is how I have viewed it. It details Nan’s personal life in a way that art happens. It does not set out to exploit or ride the waves of shock. The series merely captures what was happening in her life. A time that has since been romanticized and demonized in equal portions: the 80s East Village scene in New York. Sex, Drugs and New Wave. While someone like Cindy Sherman stages her grotesqueries and supplies artificial beauty and horror, Golden has found real beauty in real horror.
The Ballad... details the pitfalls of humanity, all essentially brought about by the most horrible addiction of all: our need of other people. Golden’s work frankly depicts the rejected, forgotten underbelly of society, just by being there and bearing witness. The abused, the addicted, the sexually different, the sick, the dying and the dead are all hear. But not for pity or for expose, for honor. These were the people she knew and loved. Perhaps summing it up best is her quote, "I used to think I couldn't lose anyone if I photographed them enough...In fact, they show me how much I've lost."
Check Out >> So The Story Goes