Francesca Woodman- A Timeless Mystery
Francesca woodman was an artist in every sense of the world. She found beauty, vulgarity and meaning through her lens in not only the world around her, but also in that inside her. The artistic journey of Francesca Woodman ended very early as she took her own life at the mere age of 22. Her pictures are unorthodox and despite it being decades since her death, are keeping her alive as a legend of photography.
I find the work of woodman both bold and unnerving. There is something about the way she poses in her photographs, blending in with barren and ruined rooms. A majority of her work features herself, a beautiful amalgamation of art and the artist. These photographs have her contained like a wisp of some forgotten memory, a ghost- trailed in high exposure but reduced to a mere blur, giving a vulnerability to the work.
The way Francesca explored the relationship between the body and its surroundings is profound, an artistisc commentary on the exploration of gender as well as self. As we can see in her photos, the rooms she photographs in have minimal furniture. That present, is draped about her awkwardly creating a claustrophobic environment. The irony of being trapped in an empty room is something i enjoy very much.
I find the work of Woodman very unsettling. That being said, It is not difficult to appreciate the art and beauty in every frame she captured. I feel that the trapped and claustrophobic nature of her photographs might be a deeper insight on what troubled her enough to take her own life. Their is an obvious eerie air about her photographs, like they were taken in a haunted house with her own presence being the ghost. The way she’s fading away and semi visible in photographs might also be an indication of her struggle to disappear from the world’s canvas.
I think feminism is an important theme in Woodman’s work. By presenting herself nude in several of her photographs, crouching awkwardly behind furniture, hiding, she gives insight about how women are forced to hide their true selves and contort into the expectations of the society.
After her death, the journal of Francesca Woodman showed her to be a diverse artist, one who has profound power over writing. Several books and a film have been made on her life and death, but the reason to her suicide seems liberating in this last entry made by her:
“This action that I foresee has nothing to do with melodrama. It is that life as lived by me now is a series of exceptions … I was (am?) not unique but special. This is why I was an artist … I was inventing a language for people to see the everyday things that I also see … and show them something different … Nothing to do with not being able “to take it” in the big city or w/ self doubt or because my heart is gone. And not to teach people a lesson. Simply the other side.”