In episode 57 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews the esteemed curator of the Woodman Foundation, Katarina Jerinic on the GROUNDBREAKING photographer, Francesca Woodman!!!
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And WOW is this an incredible insight to the American photographer, who in her short career produced an extraordinary body of work (over 800 photographs) acclaimed for its unique style and range of innovative techniques.
Born in Colorado in 1958, at the age of thirteen Francesca Woodman took her first self-portrait. From then, up until her untimely death in 1981, aged just 22, she produced incredibly visceral, expressive, dreamlike and gothic-like photographs. From the beginning: she was both the subject and object in her work.
Fragmenting her body hiding behind furniture, using reflective surfaces such as mirrors to conceal herself, or simply cropping the image, Woodman uses photography to emphasise the isolated body parts of the human figure. Slightly surrealist, her hauntingly narrative, small-scale photographs are almost akin to plays. They are at once theatrical, Baroque and operatic, as well as still and silent.
In this incredibly in-depth insight into her career as told by Jerinic, who was close to Francesca's artist parents, Betty and George Woodman, we are given a full appreciation for Woodman's life and work. From growing up in Italy, attending RISD, and her final years in New York.
Since 1986, Woodman's work has been exhibited widely and has been the subject of extensive critical study in the United States and Europe. Woodman is often situated alongside her contemporaries of the late 1970s such as Ana Mendieta and Hannah Wilke, yet her work also foreshadows artists such as Cindy Sherman, Sarah Lucas, Nan Goldin and Karen Finley in their subsequent dialogues with the self and reinterpretations of the female body.
Self Portrait, Aged 13, 1972
Space 2 Series (Nature Lab), 1975–76
Space2 Series, 1976
Polka Dots Series, 1976
Angel Series, Rome, Italy, 1977
Eel Series, Venice, 1978
Blueprint for a Temple, 1980
Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
Sound editing by Laura Hendry
Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
Music by Ben Wetherfield