Francesca Woodman was an American photographer known for her large and singular œuvre. Her photography exhibits many influences, ranging from symbolism to surrealism to fashion photography and to a great extent explores issues of gender and self. Using herself as the prime subject of her photographs these are not self-portraits in a conventional sense but rather dialogues with the self and an exploration of representation of the body in relation to its surroundings. On her frequent use of herself as a model, she observed “It’s a matter of convenience — I’m always available.”
The exhibition takes the artist’s first work Self-portrait at 13 (1971,) as starting point. In this photograph Woodman is using what can best be described as a homemade ”selfie-stick” and the resulting image is partially blurred and her face obscured by her own hair. This seminal work points to what will become Woodman’s interest in how people relate to space and how that relationship can be played out in two-dimensional images.
The exhibition displays a few dozens of works selected from the large body of work that Woodman produced in just under a decade. The selection revolves around the artist’s work on the relationship of the body to its surroundings and the images that seem to reflect a simultaneous desire to reveal and conceal the body. In re-interpreting the traditional nude and in blurring the line between object and subject at a transitional time in photography Woodman’s work is of historical importance, alongside her contemporaries such as Ana Mendieta and Hannah Wilke. It is also intensely relevant today.
Woodman’s work has been widely exhibited and also the subject of extensive critical study. Recent significant solo presentations include On being an angel, Moderna Museet Stockholm (2015-2016), touring to Foam Amsterdam (2016) and to Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris (2016) and Francesca Woodman, Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco 2011-2012) touring to Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2012).
November 10 – December 20, 2016