When you forget to look at someone close to you for a long time and suddenly you look, it’s a revelation. That's been my relationship with the world and what I’ve been photographing since I was fifteen.

(Nan Goldin)

Gagosian is pleased to announce an exhibition at the gallery in Basel featuring Nan Goldin’s video Sirens (2019–20) and large-scale photographs. Sirens, the first work by Goldin made exclusively from found video footage, is accompanied by a haunting score by Mica Levi. Echoing the call of the Sirens from Greek mythology, who lured sailors to their untimely deaths on rocky shores, this entrancing work visually and acoustically suggests the euphoric experience of being high.

The nine color photographs on view in Basel alongside Sirens were taken between 1979 and 2021. In the first room are photographs that pay homage to the sensuality of the female body. These intimate depictions allow the viewer to observe the works’ subjects without the women gazing back, questioning whether we can experience any subject without an element of confrontation. Thora at My Vanity, Brooklyn (2021), from Goldin’s most recent series of portraits of her beloved friend, incorporates the chiaroscuro of Renaissance paintings. C on the wall, Bangkok (1992), one of many shots derived from Goldin’s expansion of her circle of transgender friends to Southeast Asia, captures its subject in a raw, revealing image of the person behind the performance.

In the back room, Goldin has selected a group of works concerned with mortality and the spiritual. Holy Sheep, Rathmullen, Ireland (2002) evokes images from Catholic iconography, a passion of hers for decades. Doves in the Light, Dordogne, France (2005) likewise explores the representation of the spiritual through animal subjects. “I prefer animals to human beings at this stage in my life,” Goldin has remarked. The artist’s interest in photographing the sky in the last years is reflected in Full Moon over Bois de Vincennes, Paris (2004), while Charlotte and Marie-Anne watching the sunset, Christmas Eve, Sète, France (2003) capture a mother and daughter in a tender embrace.

The exhibition coincides with This Will Not End Well, a retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, focused on Goldin’s moving-image work. This Will Not End Well displays slideshows and video installations in pavilions designed in collaboration with architect Hala Wardé. Recently debuted at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, the exhibition will travel to the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Pirelli Hangar Bicocca, Milan; and Grand Palais, Paris, over the next two years.

Nan Goldin was born in Washington, DC, in 1953. She lives and works in New York, Berlin, and Paris. Her work is represented in major public and private collections worldwide. Retrospectives include I’ll Be Your Mirror, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1996–97, traveled to Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany, 1997; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1997; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, 1997; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, 1998; and Národní galerie Praha, Prague, 1998); and Le Feu Follet, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2001, traveled as Devil’s Playground to Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2002; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2002; Fundação Serralves, Porto, Portugal, 2002; Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin, Italy, 2002–03; and Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, 2003).

Goldin was appointed Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France (2006) and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Hasselblad Award (2007), Edward MacDowell Medal (2012), Centenary Medal from London’s Royal Photographic Society (2018), and Käthe Kollwitz Prize (2022). This Will Not End Well will be accompanied by a nine-volume box set of her photographs, Heartbeat, published by Steidl.