Nan Goldin's Sisters, Saints, Sybils will be installed at the Welsh Chapel in London as the second presentation in the new itinerant exhibition series Gagosian Open. After Gagosian announced the closure of its Britannia Street gallery in 2023, the US enterprise decided to shake up its conceptual approach to exhibition spaces. Instead of seeking another permanent venue the gallery decided to present works at temporary exhibition sites.

The setting of Goldin's most recent work, titled Sisters, Saints, Sybils (2004-2022), at the deconsecrated Welsh Chapel is a case in point of how this innovative approach to carefully choosing a suitable venue can emphasize the underlying thematics in a work of art. Conceived as a three-channel installation, Goldin draws upon the life of Saint Barbara, a third-century Christian figure, the life of the artist's elder sister Barbara Holly Goldin, and Goldin's own experiences with the LGBTQ community. These narrative threads are framed as a cinematic equivalent to medieval religious triptychs.

Through the intertwining of these three stories, Goldin records the life of her elder sister and commemorates her suicide. After having been consigned to a psychiatric detention center at the age of 12 for behavior deemed by her parents to be “openly defiant, sexually provocative and… coarse and rude”, the strain in relations with her parents and the confusion over her own sexual identity caused Barbara to commit suicide at the age of 18. Through this latest work, Goldin has also sought to achieve a sense of cathartic relief from her own traumatic experiences with addiction, confinement and self-harm.

Goldin recently had a retrospective titled This Will Not End Well at Moderna Museet in Stockholm and at Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The Gagosian Open presentation runs from May 30 through June 23, 2024. More information about this project can be found at the Gagosian site.

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