Francesca Woodman – I Could No Longer Play

Francesca Woodman, On Being an Angel #1, Providence, Rhode Island, 1977 © George and Betty Woodman

About the Atist

Francesca Woodman (USA, April 3, 1958 – January 19, 1981) was a photographer best known for her black and white pictures featuring herself and female models. Many of her photographs show young women who are nude, who are blurred (due to movement and long exposure times), who are merging with their surroundings, or whose faces are obscured. Her work continues to be the subject of much attention, years after she committed suicide at the age of 22. Her oeuvre has been shown in number of major exhibitions in recent years, and her photographs have inspired artists all over the world.

Woodman reverses the traditional terms of the arrangement: death, like photography, is simply a series of chemical reactions. By using long-exposure techniques, slow shutter speeds and surrealist compositions, Woodman explored her subjects and setups with an intensity of focus and a regard for nuance rarely seen in the self-portraiture of the time – or indeed today. In the end, her camera captures not the girl but the long moment it looked at her.  Woodman found a way to transcend the basic aestheticism of her own form, questioning broader concepts of the self, gender, body image and identity.

All of Woodman’s work is early work—but even this small cache contains surprising discoveries. Everyone agrees that Woodman’s work is too often evaluated in light of her suicide. She was ignored in life and celebrated in death. The adopted New Yorker, who had started her life in Colorado, had begun to suffer from depression, in part due to the failure of her work to attract attention and a failed relationship.

Francesca Woodman

George Woodman, father:
“She was gifted with a precocious grasp of the historical moment in which she was an artist…She was a lively conversationalist. Irony and comic characterisation of other people were part of her speech.”

Betty Woodman, mother:
“Her life wasn’t a series of miseries. She was fun to be with.”

Betsy Berne, friend, writer, journalist:
“She was very loyal and intense. She was the kind of person you either loved or hated. She had a great sense of humour. There’s a great deal of wit in [the pictures], and irony. She seemed to have been born in the wrong century – she was totally outside pop culture”

Cindy Sherman, photographer:
“I think Francesca would scoff at being called a feminist artist. She used herself organically, not to make a statement.”

Anthony d’Offay, British art dealer:
“I think she was a genius.”

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Francesca Woodman, Selfportrait at Thirteen, Boulder, Colorado, 1972, Gelatin silver print © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, House # 3, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976

Francesca Woodman, House # 3, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976 © George and Betty Woodman

 Francesca Woodman, House #4, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976, © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, House #4, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976 © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Space2, Providence, Rhode Island, 1977, © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Space, Providence, Rhode Island, 1977 © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Providence, Rhode Island, ca. 1975

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Providence, Rhode Island, ca. 1975 © George and Betty Woodman

 

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976 © George and Betty Woodman

 

Francesca Woodman, Untitled I, Providence, Rhode Island, ca. 1975 © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Self-deceit #1, Rome, Italy, 1978 © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Self-deceit #1, Rome, Italy, 1978 © George and Betty Woodman

 

Francesca Woodman, On Being an Angel #1, Providence, Rhode Island, 1977 © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, On Being an Angel #1, Providence, Rhode Island, 1977 © George and Betty Woodman

 

 

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Italy, 1979-80

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Italy, 1977-78  © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman Untitled, Rome, Italy 1977-1978 © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Rome, Italy, 1977-1978 © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, New York, 1979-80, © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, New York, 1979-80 © George and Betty Woodman

 

Francesca Woodman Untitled, Rome , 1977–1978.

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Rome, 1977–1978 © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Antella Italy, 1977 - 78

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Antella Italy, 1977 – 78 © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, 1979-1980 © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, From the Eal Series, 1979-1980 © George and Betty Woodman

francesca-woodman-untitled-1980-

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, 1980 © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Angel Series, 1977

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Angel Series, 1977  © George and
Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman Untitled (from Angel Series, Rome) 1977–1978

Francesca Woodman, Untitled (from Angel Series, Rome), 1977–1978  © George and
Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Angel Series, 1977-78

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Angel Series, 1977-78 © George and
Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman: From Angel Series, Rome, Italy, September 1977

Francesca Woodman: From Angel Series, Rome, Italy, September 1977 © George and
Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman Untitled, 1976 - 80

Francesca Woodman Untitled, 1976 – 80 © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, 1979-1980 © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, Untitled 1, 1979-1980 © George and Betty Woodman

 

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, House Series, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, House Series, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976 © George and
Betty Woodman

 

Francesca Woodman, But lately I find a sliver of mirror is simply to slice an eyelid, New York, 1979-80 © George and Betty Woodman

Francesca Woodman, But lately I find a sliver of mirror is simply to slice an eyelid, New York, 1979-80 © George and
Betty Woodman

 

 Francesca Woodman, I could no longer play, Providence, Rhode Island, 1977

Francesca Woodman, I could no longer play, Providence, Rhode Island, 1977 © George and
Betty Woodman

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