Along with the recently opened Ryan Trecartin at MoMA PS1 is Laurel Nakadate: Only The Lonely. The exhibit which is on the 3rd floor of the museum, is comprised mostly of photographs along with videos of the artist who inserts herself into particular, uncomfortable situations. Upon entering the main exhibition space, as shown in the image above, the expansive hall features medium scale self portrait photographs. The project, 365 Days: A Catalogue of Tears, follows the artist as she was in the physical process of crying, before or shortly thereafter. The work is intimate and extremely humanistic. However, at the same time, it also speaks to and reflects our generation and time in its utilization of technology to capture a particular moment or feeling.

Another series of photographs features the artist posing in various positions and postures. The work is performative and the evidence is in the inky fingerprints which in some of the images (including the one above) have been enlarged way beyond there original 4in X 6in format. Originally, the photographs had been passed around to men whom she didn’t know personally, and as they touched the photos, their inked fingers left marks. For the viewer the experience is serene yet also strange. Walking through the exhibit, one will become aware of Laurel as a character in a story or on a t.v. show. She is featured over and over and we start to question who she is but then also feel a particular acquaintance and familiarity due to the intimacy of the photographs.

A festering crept around like a feather and tickled the base of my neck as I personally made my way through the gallery rooms. Through the experience of her work, I found I became more aware of my own presence. Being someone who also takes many self portraits in various locals, this wasn’t unfamiliar territory, but also reinforced due to the multitude of reflective surfaces (t.v. monitors, glass over framed photographs, etc.). As I, became voyeur looking into her world, I also started to recognize myself. The natural sunlight, flooded the museum and upon each turn, light was streaming into the gallery spaces. At times, the sun was so bright it made viewing particular pieces (as shown below) difficult, but somehow also created a magical feeling juxtaposing warmth and coolness.

The piece above is on a small monitor, alone in a gallery and features the artist writhing and acting out/performing sexual positions in hotel rooms, alone. Her body, moves and girates and is assumingly unaware of the absense of her a partner. However “he” exists in the silence as well as in the negative space that surrounds the body. The work is very strong, conjuring elements of lonliness, loss, and yet also a particular humorous element in the discomfort of watching someone move in friction filled positions meant to be shared with another person, and yet shared with all who visit the exhibition.

Laurel Nakadate: Only The Lonely, is on view at MoMA PS1 until August 1st, 2011 and has been organized by is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Director of MoMA PS1 and Chief Curator at Large at The Museum of Modern Art. Go!

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