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A body floating in the turquoise water of a pool, the face of a young man whose features still teenagers. A raw, intimate light that stirs the sensuality of the flesh. It is Nan Goldin. And if it weren’t for the exceptional celebrity model, nothing in this picture – or in the other pictures that composed the series from which it is extracted – would not denote with the previous work of the American photographer. However, Robert Pattinson, the model we are talking about, is not really part of the elective family of Nan Goldin.
Neither clueless nor underground, the hero of Twilight had never met the artist before this project orchestrated by Dior, of which he is the new face for the Dior Homme fragrance. And without doubt, the photographer, a follower of the cinema of Antonioni and Fassbinder had never heard of him. But the alchemy worked: “I haven’t seen his vampire movies, because they’re not my style”, says Nan Goldin with her hoarse timbre. “What interests me about him is his person. Robert is a lovely boy, so sweet , loves to play guitar. Music is his natural element, probably more than cinema.“
With this series, the photographer wanted to reflect the grace of a young man. “One of the starting points was the portrait of the artist painter Paul Cadmus by Luigi Lucioni  (image at the bottom of the post) exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum. Same brown hair, same blue eyes, Robert has something of this boy.” Hundreds of fans were waiting around places of the shooting in New York, but the photographer has no recollection : “I didn’t see anyone, but I think I heard about it.”
WHAT IT GIVES TO SEE ROBERT PATTINSON is not his celebrity status – he spent most of his life trying to hide – nor his glamor image of the hero of a people culture of which he is totally foreign. Nan Goldin searched in the actor what she has always highlighted in her models: youth, the sexual body and the expression of an individual destiny.
“For the first time, I looked back, I plunged back into my archives, which I never do because I don’t want to repeat myself, or plagiarize myself. And I found in The Ballad of Sexual Dependency [her most famous work, a slideshow of 800 photos between autobiography and documentary, shown for the first time in 1987 at the Rencontres d’Arles] an image that I wanted to inspire me: French Chris on the Convertible  (image at the bottom of the post). I wanted to find the same virginity, this same grace.” So, for this command, Nan Goldin – whose last exhibition Scopophilia, date 2011 – is back to work . “As did Diane Arbus before me – be careful, don’t say that I compare myself to her – I would like to make a book of my fashion photos, these images have long been despised by museums.”In her London studio the artist completes a box. A mystery object that contains the series “Robert Pattinson” edited by Dior, in limited edition and will be sold in art places late November.“I’m happy with this project” concludes Nan Goldin wearily . “So much has happened since this morning. It is 7pm and I still haven’t had breakfast…”