Events in Modern Languages & Cultures
French Research Seminar series: Nan Golding and the Reclining Nude
Abstract: Figures of prostration, horizontality and reclining have frequently returned in Goldin's photographic works. This paper explores reclining figures in two installation projects she mounted in Paris, Sisters, Saints and Sibyls in the chapel Saint-Louis-de-la-Salpêtrière (2003) and Scopophilia in the Louvre museum (2010). These works included projections with voice-over, as well as still images. In Sisters, Saints and Sibyls Goldin animates the history of her sister Barbara Holly Goldin who committed suicide aged 19. In Scopophilia she aligns images from her own corpus with photographs she has taken in the Louvre and other museums, focusing in particular on the naked body, and on pleasure in looking. In these two projects Goldin explores how images of passivity, of slipping from the vertical, may be beautiful, expressive, cathartic. She adopts a feminist politics of protest and pleasure.