After taking his own life at the age of 22, the American artist has established himself on the contemporary photography scene in a decade of activity. Thanks to the agreement with the Woodman Family Foundation, his works and artist books are in Gagosian’s portfolio
died very young Frances Woodman (Denver, 1958 – New York, 1981) was an exceptional photographic talent who committed suicide at the age of just 22. Early on, he sensed the performative use of photography in order to give shape to a profound research work about (his own) body, the woman’s body, the place where social taboos manifest themselves through an intimate relationship with the camera. In the 1970s his work dealt with the themes of identity, vulnerability and intimacy in black and white compositions inspired by surrealist poetics but also by Gothic and Victorian imagery.
GAGOSIAN REPRESENTS FRANCESCA WOODMAN
More than forty years after his death Gagosian will represent the artist thanks to the agreement made with the Woodman Family Foundationborn through the will of Betty and George Woodman – parents of the late photographer – and active as of 2020. The gallery presents on the occasion of Art Basel 2023 (soon to be inaugurated, from June 15th to 18th) and is waiting to dedicate an exhibition to her in New York in spring 2024. Raised between Colorado and the village of Antella, not far from Florence, and daughter of art (mother ceramicist and (painter father), Woodman’s work focused mainly on the 1970s, between his attendance at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Roman period between 1977 and 1978 and the last years of his life in New York, even if this was his first work. The “artistic maturity” goes back to the age of 13, with whichself portrait taken in 1972 (currently on display at the RISD Museum in Providence). In 1978 he was the protagonist of a solo exhibition in Rome Maldoror Library, and in the same year he exhibited in the group show at the Galleria Ugo Ferranti. In 2000, the city dedicated an exhibition to her at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Frances Woodman. Providence – Rome), curated by Achille Bonito Oliva.
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FRANCESCA WOODMAN. BETWEEN PHOTOS AND ARTIST DIARIES
There are also artist diaries of her work, which was nourished and in turn found an echo in feminist circles – one of them: Some disordered interior geometriespublished by Synapse Press in 1981 while the upcoming collection dates back to June 2023 Francesca Woodman: The Artist’s Books, published by MACK, with some unpublished works – and notepads rarely exhibited but kept by the Woodman Foundation, along with letters, journals, documentary materials and of course the corpus of negatives and photographic prints (10,000 and over 800 respectively) . Gagosian’s goal is to bring this legacy to light in the near future and to recreate as complete a picture as possible of the artist’s practice and work, which will also be on view at the museum next spring National Portrait Gallery of London, in reference to the work of Julia Margaret Canon (Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron: Portraits to Dream, from March 21 to June 30, 2024). Before moving to Gagosian, Woodman’s work was represented by the Marian Goodman Gallery and the Victoria Miro Gallery.