‘A person, scattered in space and time, is no longer a woman but a series of events on which we can throw no light, a series of insoluble problems.’ Marcel Proust - La Prisonnière (1923)
Francesca Woodman’s untimely death meant that she never saw the impact her work would have on others. On International Women's Day it's worth remembering that when viewing her photographs we shouldn’t let go of the fact that they were created first by a schoolgirl, then a student and in the end a young woman. Woodman never understood herself as a fully realized artist, even if that's how we see her now. When she died in 1981 aged just 22, she was still learning, still absorbing influences, still exploring what she wanted her work to do and testing the directions it might take.
Born in 1958 to the American painter, photographer and ceramicist, George Woodman and his wife, fellow artist Betty Woodman, Francesca began to shoot photographs in her early teens. Familiar with the pertinent movements in art history, thanks to both her upbringing and her education at the Rhode Island School of Design, she was attuned to surrealism and modernism, aware of the fashionable, neo-gothic look of Edwardian dresses and the artist’s loft, while also playing with other notions, such as photographic purity and honesty. You can find out more and view her rather wonderful body of work in Francesca Woodman in the store here.