I found this work by Nan Goldin, consisting of four inseparable photos, incredibly moving for the tenderness, crudeness and drama that it manages to express at the same time. Rarely has a photographic work succeeded in giving me, in its immediacy, such strong emotions, without knowing anything about the story "narrated". But I immediately read it as a story of love, rather than death. Even though death brings the photographic cycle to an end, in the same way as life.
Gilles is the owner of a gallery in Paris that has exhibited Nan Goldin, and one of the first people to support her work. His partner, Gotscho, is an artist. The photos show their loving relationship right to the end, and document the care and presence of the healthy partner as AIDS wreaks its devastating course on Gilles. I am extremely fortunate, because some years after acquiring the work, I attended a short film made by Goldin for the BBC, entitled "I'll be your mirror", in which Gotscho speaks of his relationship with Gilles (following the death of the latter). Nothing seemed more powerful to me than his testimony, to describe love. His words entered my soul, and I am certain that it is impossible to find anything more or better to describe falling in love and the true love, which lasts in time, for the man or woman of one's life. This robust man, with his powerful, almost hard features, spoke with deep sentiment, nostalgia and incredible delicacy, of his memories of Gilles. A presence still so intense and "luminous", after the death of his partner. I then understood why I had instinctively chosen this seemingly harsh work, perceiving instead the deep intensity connected to life. Even though the last photo, with the wasted and stiff arm is bound, in my own mind, to the loss of people dear to me. Perhaps it is the photo that is the most shocking, but true, that provides the photographic cycle with the right arrival point, as in my memories my final gaze on the lifeless arm of a dying man. It is frightening because death is frightening. But it is also inevitable, following life.
Where in my house have I placed these four photos in a vertical line? Beside Kapoor's blue void and, I assure you, a perfect assonance has been established between these two works united by the profound sense of being both "here" and "there".
To me, it is one of the most significant works by this artist capable of scrutinising the world, from the sky to the depths, from the fullness of life to the most total individual decline.