Francesca Woodman

Providence, Rhode Island , 1976 (1976)

About this artwork

Woodman perches naked on a chair, appearing defensive and vulnerable. This is one of the few self-portraits where we see the artist’s full face. The vague black body imprinted on the floor seems to walk through the ground, as if descending into a nether world, while the desolate setting creates a chilling atmosphere. This is one of a series of photographs displaying the influence of Surrealism in the way it explores the supernatural. Woodman usually puts herself in the frame, although these are not conventional self-portraits. Instead, she explores issues of gender, self and the representation of the body in relation to its surroundings. An underlying fragility is emphasised by the small and intimate format of the photographs.

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  • title: Providence, Rhode Island , 1976
  • accession number: AR00352
  • artist: Francesca WoodmanAmerican (1958 - 1981)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • subject: Nudity
  • medium: Gelatine silver print
  • date created: 1976
  • measurements: 14.30 x 14.40 cm (paper 25.20 x 20.30 cm) (framed: 45.80 x 40.20 x 2.00 cm)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © Courtesy of George and Betty Woodman
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Francesca Woodman

Francesca Woodman

Francesca Woodman’s photographs explore issues of gender and the self, looking at the representation of the body, and more specifically at how her own body relates to the world and her surroundings. Born in Denver, Colorado, Woodman studied at Rhode Island School of Design from 1975 to 1978, spending the final year of her studies on an exchange programme in Rome. She had previously lived in Italy with her artist parents during her youth, and later lived in New York. Woodman was interested in Surrealism and Symbolism, particularly the work of Max Klinger. She began to take photographs from around the age of thirteen or fourteen until her suicide at the age of twenty-two. Despite her short career, she produced a significant and influential body of work.