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Sadness: from Yale to PS1 to Chelsea
Laurel Nakadate
365 Days: A Catalogue of Tears and other works
Reviewer #1
December 19, 2010 by Laurel Nakadate. Source: tonkonow.com
Laurel Nakadate, "December 19, 2010"

It is hard to imagine photographers of an earlier age embarking on a project like the one undertaken by Laurel Nakadate. “365 Days: A Catalog of Tears” is currently being shown in part at PS 1, and in a different form, in its entirety, at Leslie Tonkonow.

It’s unlikely that Weegee ever thought to deliberately “take part in sadness,” let alone every day. The idea of photographing oneself during or slightly after this moment is perfectly in sync with today’s digitize every moment of your life, zeitgeist. But Ms. Nakadate has managed to take this approach and produce a work that is charmingly memorable and only slightly alarming.

Although at PS1 Ms. Nakadate has produced a large chapel-like gallery of big pictures of herself, at Tonkonow the piece is presented at a more human and ultimately more satisfying scale. Here the work consists of 365 8 1/2 x 11 inch, inkjet prints, pinned neatly to the wall in a grid, with a snaking chronology from January 1 to December 31, 2010. All are self-portraits taken in her home and/or studio, or on her many trips, with the vast majority interior shots.

First, let’s get the sadness out of the way. Although there are tears in a number of these pictures, (and I don’t doubt the sincerity of the artist’s attempt,) the best the photographer-actress has been able to do is summon up a bit of melancholy and occasional ennui.

So much the better. The real joy in these pictures does not come from the tears; rather it comes from the chance to watch a good photographer slowly working, day after day, at making interesting photographs. While at PS1 we might see one image from a certain angle, in the complete series we see that she has been working for days with the same setup. For example, she repeatedly poses in front of a window in what probably is her lower Manhattan apartment, just slightly altering the pose and lighting. From one day’s ‘period of sadness’ to the next, she seems very much aware of the process of making the photograph.

April 13, 2010 by Laurel Nakadate. Source: tonkonow.com
Laurel Nakadate, "April 13, 2010" 2011

Now, if you’re doing a series of self-portraits, it doesn’t hurt to be a young woman with a penchant for stripping down to your knickers when you’re blue. And, of course, Ms. Nakadate is no stranger to the power of voyeurism. Some of her best-known work has come from asking strangers to meet her and take off their clothes to be photographed.

But the viewer quickly starts becoming interested in the many silent joys of these pictures – the details of time and place that surround the central character, the interplay of light and color. Even as her sadness flows, such interests are clearly on her mind.

Laurel Nakadate
365 Days: A Catalogue of Tears and other works


Leslie Tonkonow
535 W 22nd St. 6th Fl
Chelsea         Map

212 255 8450
tonkonow.com

Saturday, May 7 to
Friday, July 8, 2011
Hours: Summer Mon-Fri, 10 to 6
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The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
Central Booking Magazine
Soho Photo Gallery