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Looking at Nan Goldin’s work, it is hard not to get a sense of who the artist is herself. Besides portraying primarily her friends and family in her striking photographs, the raw atmosphere of the photographs resonates through to the audience - these images connect us to Goldin on a purely primitive level.
Nan Goldin, Skinhead Having Sex
Many of Goldin’s photographs have a sensual undertone hard to miss. This aspect of her work, however, is deeper than the sexual and reflects Goldin’s statement that sex is “a mirror for the soul and thus part of a deeper and more complex relationship, linked to the pains and joys of love and friendship.” The transcendence by Nan beyond all personal boundaries allows the viewer to see rare, intimate moments between lovers and friends.
Nan Goldin, Ryan in the Tub
Nan Goldin, Jimmy Paulette and Taboo! in the Bathroom
One of the recurrent motifs in Nan’s work are women bathing. Goldin’s obsession with water (which can also be seen in her later landscape and portraiture work) and the naked body led to a plethora of photographs reminiscent of her work Ryan in the Tub . Another important theme for revealed by Goldin’s photography is the androgyny of her subjects - Goldin works closely with transgender persons, drag queens, and gender variant individuals.
- - Claire Concannon