Francesca Woodman

 

Francesca Woodman was born in Boulder, Colorado in 1958. She often spent her summers in Italy, where her family had a second home. A perk of growing up with artist parents, Francesca and her brother were encouraged to visit museums, sketchbooks in hand, and often received house guests such as Richard Serra and David Hockney. She attended boarding school in Massachusetts and RISD for undergrad, spending her junior year abroad in Florence. In Italy, Francesca frequented a bookshop and gallery, the Libreria Maldoror that specialized in surrealist work. There, she held her first-ever exhibition. Francesca Woodman was known for her black and white pictures featuring either herself or female models. She had many black and white pictures of a young woman who was nude, blurred, and merging with her surroundings, or sometimes her face is obscured. Francesca moved to New York City in 1979 to make a carrier in photography, and met her boyfriend at Pilchuck Glass School. In 1981, she became depressed due to the failure of her work to attract attention and to a brock of relationship as her family said. She died because of suicide when she was living with her family in Manhattan, New York.

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If we talk about her works, most of her photographs are from a young woman, which obscured far more than they elucidated. Her uncanny images don’t capture a single moment in time, but a messy stretch of it, spread out in parts and bunched up in others like a sheet draped over old furniture. Many viewers, notably critic Rosalind Krauss, identify feminist elements of Woodman’s practice, in the way she shields herself from the male gaze, presenting her nude body as a sort of animal carcass. Or the way she possibly alludes to the confines of the home, crouching behind a fireplace, hiding behind crumbling wallpaper, eating curtains, as we see below.

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