Laurel Nakadate at ACAC

The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (ACAC) announces the opening of Laurel Nakadate: Photographs, Videos & Performances, an exhibition focusing on the artist’s works which explore themes of voyeurism, loneliness, power, and desire.

Many of these were featured in “Only The Lonely,” Nakadate’s ten-year retrospective at MoMA PS1 in 2011. This exhibition is the first time in the past several years that the entirety of ACAC’s gallery spaces will be used to present the work of one artist.

Timed to occur during Atlanta Celebrates Photography, this survey of Nakadate’s emotional and unsettling art will provide audiences with imagery and narrative structures that speak to the dissolution of public and private realms, the potential for identity transformation, and the sprawling stage of the American landscape.

The exhibition at ACAC will be dominated by 36 images chosen from Nakadate’s 2011 series 365 Days: A Catalogue of Tears, a rigorous year-long photographic performance, during which the artist documented herself crying each day. She is seen sobbing in her home, in hotels, on planes and trains, clothed or in various states of undress.

What becomes clear is that Nakadate is presenting a composite of who she is, and who she can become for the camera: a woman who is haunted, grieving, struggling, wanting, and healing. Viewers are left to decide what experiences the artist is drawing on to bring on her tears, and how these images connect with their own lives and modes of sharing of personal information (in the flesh and on the Internet).

Nakadate has said, “One of the primary motivations at the beginning of this work was going out into the world and meeting strangers. And whether I was meant to be a part of their world or not, I just wanted to spend some time there.”

This impulse is explicit in her various productions which featuring sought-after or happened-upon collaborators who reveal themselves as complex creatures filled with anxiety and expressive power.

In the 2011 Star Portraits series, strangers are lead to various isolated locales at nighttime, and photographed with a combination of flash and long exposure. The results offer spot lit figures who stare straight ahead under starry skies.

In “Good Morning Sunshine,” 2009, Nakadate videotapes several adolescent girls in their bedroom, instructing each to wake up and perform certain tasks. Her voice alternates between aspects of manipulative mother, creepy sorority sister, and skillful seducer.

“Exorcism in January,” 2009, shows Nakadate dancing and singing with various men, at risk and in control, as she conjures states of exhilaration and estrangement.

Extending the exhibition beyond the ACAC galleries, we will screen Nakadate’s second feature film, “The Wolf Knife,” 2010, at the Plaza Theatre on Thursday, October 11, at 9:30 pm.

The artist will be in attendance and will answer questions after the screening. This event is presented in partnership with Atlanta Film Festival 365.

Through Dec. 16.

Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
535 Means St.
Atlanta, Ga.

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