Francesca Woodman was an American photographer best known for her black and white pictures featuring herself and female models. Last summer a big retrospective was presented in Milan at Palazzo della Ragione. She anticipated tendencies and themes that would define contemporary art in future years and, as heiress of the western artistic tradition of self-portrait, Francesca Woodman amazed the artistic community through the maturity and conceptual coherence of the works she created in nine years of intense work.
The exhibition traced Woodman’s footsteps through sites of her most significant photographic series and through the most important passages of her story. One of them took place in Boulder, Colorado, from her years in high school, another covered an intense academic period at the Rhode Island School of Design of Providence and finally, the 1977-1978 photographic series which was taken in Rome. New York and the unpolluted nature of the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire represented the extreme phases of her work.
She spent the most part of her childhood in Italy in the Florentine countryside, where she lived in an old farm with her parents.The charm of the old house had a notable influence on Francesca’s research; the high-ceilinged rooms, the crumbling walls, the old decorations are all felt to be surfaces like ‘skins’ in which to cover oneself. Her photographs, like many female artists, show young nude women, but blurred by camera movement and long exposure times, merging with their surroundings, or with their faces obscured. Her work continues to be the subject of much attention, years after she committed suicide at the age of 22.
Selected by Ingrid Melano