Francesca Woodman
On Being an Angel, Stoccolma

22 September 2015

Francesca Woodman built up an archive of almost a thousand photographs over a very short period of time, before committing suicide at the age of just twenty-two. The pictures are all very similar. In them we see a delicate body, her own or that of some other woman, concealed or transformed by its interaction with a shabby domestic space multiplied by mirrors and sheets of wallpaper. In these simple variations on the theme we seem to find a mixture of Victorian imagery, Surrealist techniques and statements of a feminist character; but who knows how she would have described them. After all she was very young, had shown a few prints here and there, between Italy and America, and just two years after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1978, was only with difficulty beginning to find an opening in the profession as a model or assistant photographer. And yet her work was already so personal it was universal, according to Anne Tellgren, curator of the exhibition On Being an Angel devoted to her by the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. The museum, one of the most highly regarded in Europe, has put together a hundred and two prints: from her self-portrait at the age of thirteen, with her hair covering her face and dressed unashamedly in a boy’s clothes, to the Angel Series and her final experiments with the diazo process. And there is a video, perhaps her least-known and most emotional work, in which Francesca writes her name and comes back to life again. After Stockholm, the exhibition will move in 2016 and 2017 to Amsterdam (Foam Photography Museum), Paris (Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson) and Malmö (Moderna Museet).

Francesca Woodman. On Being an Angel
Moderna Museet
A cura di Anna Tellgren
Stoccolma
5 settembre > 6 dicembre 2015

Francesca Woodman From Angel series, Rome, Italy, 1977. © George and Betty Woodman.

Francesca Woodman, From Angel series, Rome, Italy, 1977. © George and Betty Woodman.

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

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976. © 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, Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-78. © George and Betty Woodman.

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-78. © 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, Providence, Rhode Island, 1975–1976. © Betty and George Woodman.

Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Providence, Rhode Island, 1975–1976. © Betty and George Woodman.

Francesca Woodman, From Space, 1976. © Betty and George Woodman.

Francesca Woodman, From Space, 1976. © Betty and George Woodman.

Francesca Woodman, Spring in Providence # 2, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976. © George and Betty Woodman.

Francesca Woodman, Spring in Providence # 2, 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, from Eel Series, 1978. © Betty and George Woodman.

Francesca Woodman, from Eel Series, 1978. © Betty and George Woodman.

Francesca Woodman, On Being an Angel # 1, 1977. © Betty and George Woodman.

Francesca Woodman, On Being an Angel # 1, 1977. © Betty and George Woodman.


Sara Dolfi Agostini

A curator and journalist, she lives between Italy and the United States, but often changes course to visit museums, biennials and artist’s studios. Specializing in contemporary art and photography, she co-curated the public art project ArtLine Milano and wrote the book Collezionare Fotografia (2010, with Denis Curti). She has been contributing to Il Sole 24 Ore since 2008.


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