During the past decade, Laurel Nakadate has become internationally known for provocative works in video, film, performance and photography. Complex and often unsettling, they challenge conventional perceptions of power such as: seduction, tenderness, trust, narcissism and self-abnegation in psychosexual relationships.
Her new series of short videos ritualize exorcisms performed by Nakadate and her cast of amateur actors. Locations shift from dingy, claustrophobic motel rooms to the majestic open spaces of the American West. We see ecstatic dances, woodland walks, train travels and reluctant striptease.
While making her videos Nakadate shot a variety of photographs: the FEVER DREAMS series and the LUCKY TIGER series, in which she appears in suggestive poses, are inspired by 1950s-style cheesecake and camera-club photography. These snapshots were completed during a performance in which the artist and anonymous middle-aged men, which she met on the streets or enlisted via Craigslist.com, covered their hands with fingerprinting ink and touched the photographs together. Sitting in a circle, on the floor of a man’s living room, they passed the snapshots around like trading cards.
365 DAYS: A CATALOGUE OF TEARS is a series of 365 colour photographs documenting a performance by the artist, in which she photographed herself before, during and after weeping each day from January 1st through December 31st, 2010. Nakadate’s performance was a disciplined, durational exercise that required her to “take part in sadness each day” during the normal course of her life. Photographs were made in her New York apartment, her childhood bedroom in Iowa, at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle, on planes, trains and in hotel rooms in places as varied as Talinn, Estonia, and Saratoga Springs, New York. Nakadate says that the photographs were inspired by the “happy self-portraits people make day after day with their cell phone cameras and post on Facebook”.