Francesca Woodman died at the age of 22. She committed suicide. She threw herself off a building in New York in January 1981, following a long bout of depression. She was born in 1958 in a family of artists.
Her Self-Portrait at Thirteen marks the beginning of one of the most original photographic oeuvres of the 20th century, a body of work emerging over only 10 years.
Working in black and white, she frequently took self-portraits or depicted other young women, sometimes nude. Often the figures are only partly visible or blurry, as if trying to escape the frame.
Only a quarter of the approximately 800 images she produced—many of them self-portraits—have ever been seen by the public.
The first major American museum exhibition of her work in 25 years, “Francesca Woodman,” had its debut last month at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where it will remain until today Feb. 20. It will open in March 2012 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Her photographs are primarily about the human body, the human face and space, houses, floors, walls.
She denounces the mainstream photography of her time. It is not only the articulate synthesis, but also the interplay between three and two dimensions, the negation of flatness only to accept it after the struggle.
Woodman’s work is an apotheosis of the interplay between shadow and light.
Scott Willis made a film about the Woodman family. Unsurprisingly, its title is “The Woodmans”.