365 Days

365 Days: A Catalogue of Tears, by Laurel Nakadate, Hatje Cantz, €45.

On 1 January 2010, Nakadate (born 1975 in Austin, USA) decided to cry every day for a year, documenting the action in photographs and initiating a ritual that would let her “deliberately subject herself to sadness.” It will probably take the reader a few pages to fathom the simple idea of this ritual. It is not an exhibitionist kind of happening, nor a provocation. It is the daily ritual of a weeping ceremony, a long lasting draining of buckets of tears and suffering from Nakadate. “What do they mean?” The artist wants us to enter into the question, explore her loneliness, discover its purpose. And she delivers a lot of herself, her intimacy, femininity and feelings. As each photo draws you a little closer to the central character, step by step you begin to journey not only towards her, but into your emotions. Laurel Nakadate is known for her powerful video film, and photographic works in which the artist, her subject, and the viewer are entangled in unsettling performances of seduction, power, trust and tenderness. With her Catalogue of Tears, Nakadate achieves a unique book, one that you open with apprehension: something might happen to you. Human nature is right there in front of us and this is probably the most striking thing about it. We’re a beautiful animal, even when so lonely.