Francesca Woodman was an American photographer who investigated female subjectivity, identity and performance using blurred, half hidden self-portraiture. With herself often the subject, her ghostly and narrative black and white photographs offer an insight into her unconscious and performative self. Woodman played with a camera’s exposure time and incorporated decrepit locations, using antique props such as mirrors, couches, and wallpaper as her backdrop, thus lending the human form evanescence by presenting mysterious old-fashioned photographic stories. Born into a family of artists in 1958, she began producing self- portraits by the time she was thirteen years old. She studied both abroad in Rome and at RISD before moving to New York where she continued her experimentation with photography, drawing from Surrealist motifs and gothic fiction. In 1981, when only twenty-two, she committed suicide after a long struggle with depression. Woodman is considered one of the most gifted and elusive young artists of our time.
-text by Walker Brockington
Francesca Woodman’s work is currently on view at the Guggenheim Museum through June 13.