Sirens: images from Nan Goldin’s first London show since 2002

Fans of Nan Goldin will know her mostly through her seminal work, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, the artist’s 1979-1986 photographic diary. Goldin’s new exhibition, called simply Sirens, runs until January at Marian Goodman Gallery in London and it is the first time that the artist has had a solo show in London since 2002.

Goldin was part of a generation of documentarians who chose to photograph what they saw as they saw it; their world in the raw. The works of Goldin and her contemporaries offers insight into worlds that now seem microcosmic, ones often beset by addiction and abuse.

Nan Goldin, photography, London, Sirens
Photo: Nan Goldin / Greer modeling jewelry NYC 1985

Nan Goldin’s latest exhibition in London, on until January, deals with addiction and shows some previously unseen artist works.

Goldin became a voyeur for her generation but, in Goldin’s case, she was as much a part of the world she was photographing. The artist struggled with an addiction to OxyContin and the works in this new exhibition seek to divulge this. Memory Lost (2019), a new digital work that Goldin has been working on over the past year, tells the story of a time framed by drug use. It explores how addiction can reframe memories so that they appear darkened and somewhat lost as if, upon looking back, they perhaps don’t exist at all.

Also scored by Mica Levi, Sirens (2019), is composed of found video footage – a first for Goldin. Experienced as if being high, the world that Goldin explores here is one concerned with sailors and mythic Greek creatures as if reality might never be nigh.

There are several images in the exhibition that have never been exhibited publicly and perhaps Australian acolytes of Goldin can share in this sense of discovery and wonder. In The Other Side (1994-2019), Goldin pays tribute to the trans community of which she was an early supporter.

She writes that the The Other Side, “is a record of the courage of the people who transformed that landscape to allow trans people the freedom of now. My dream since I was a kid was of a world with completely fluid gender and sexuality, which has come true as manifested by all those living publicly as gender non.conforming. The invisible has become visible.”

Nan Goldin’s Sirens is on show from November 14 2019 until January 11th 2020 at Marian Goodman Gallery in London.

Nan Goldin, photography, Sirens
Photo: Nan Goldin / Sirens 2019
Nan Goldin, photography, Sirens
Photo: Nan Goldin / Ivy on the way to Newbury St. Boston Garden Boston 1973