22 March 2014
Industry news, Publications
Phaidon Press is pleased to present Eden and After, a brand new collection of photographs of children, taken by iconic American photographer Nan Goldin. Goldin is also undertaking two rare book signings at Koenig bookshop on Charing Cross Road on Tuesday 25 March at 4.30pm and at Tate Modern on Wednesday 26 March at 4.30pm. A spokespeson from Phaidon told The Society that: 'It has been quite some time since Nan was in London with us (2003 was the launch of The Devil’s Playground), so it is quite a rare opportunity. I wanted the RPS to know about it first'.
A highly optimistic work, Eden and After features over 300 photographs, taken over thirty years (1977 - 2013), most of which are published here for the first time. The book is divided into thirteen thematic chapters and traces the mysterious path of childhood, from pregnancy and birth through to early adolescence and the departure into adulthood.
Photographing since the age of fifteen, Nan Goldin has validated the snapshot aesthetic as a true art form, causing a sea-change in contemporary photography. From the offset she has used photography to trace her own and her friends' histories, creating a public diary, as homage to the people she loves. Her work explores intimate relationships, the malleability of identity and the reality of mortality.
Offering an insight into Nan Goldin's life, lived between the US and Europe Eden and Aftergathers together in one place photographs of her Godchildren, children that she has known all their lives and others she has met in her travels. These are children that have always appeared in the interstices of her most important projects and books, like Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1986), The Devil's Playground(Phaidon, 2003) and yet this is the first time she has made them the major subject of her work.
Eden and After portrays these children through the eyes of Nan Goldin: wild and magical, as if from another world. Neither sentimental nor distanced - as a reporter would be - she ventures deeply into the world of childhood, giving each child she photographs a voice within their own reality and autonomy. The book shows enormous respect for the children, with chapters exploring gender identity and emotional states that range from melancholia to moments of uninhibited joy and the complex relationships within families.
The photographs, intimate and dreamlike, are interspersed with a number of texts and poems by eminent writers, highly respected by Nan, such as Frank O'Hara, Margaret Atwood, Philip Larken, Hakim Bey and Rumi, the Persian poet of the 12th century. The book also features a specially commissioned essay, by Nan's close friend and art dealer, Guido Costa, whose own children feature prominently throughout the book.
Image: © Nan Goldin / Ava twirling, NYC, 2007