Transforming the body into form. "Francesca Woodman," Gagosian, New York.


555 West 24th Street, New York

through April 27

“Sitting in bed – the slide projector is humming in the other room – a slide of helen as caryatid – im feeling very very lazy and contented – the cat lounges on a newly washed pile of pink clothes and the room is strewn with fresh tulips – even my fish has fresh flowers from Chinatown.”

It’s easy to imagine Francesca Woodman writing the above words in her journal around the same time that she made this suite of photographs in her New York City apartment. For this series, one of several now on view at Gagosian, Woodman’s words offer insights into her process and practice. Here, she transforms the body into form, contorting it against edges and corners or humorously around the artifacts of her daily life. Faces are obscured as in her distinctly sculptural diazotype caryatids casually taped to the wall, monumentally scaled in contrast to the only image of the group that reads as the artist herself, staring back intensely at the viewer. The entire mise-en-scene is a distinctive mix of art and life, the eternal and the everyday.

As Katie White notes in her review on Artnet News, the “exhibition teases out, particularly, Woodman’s fascination with the classical and ancient European world and how photography could be used to transform the body into a sculptural form befitting rites and rituals.” She further concludes: “ . . . it might be best to say that Francesca Woodman’s photographs hint at the ways our past lives live on within the present, how history becomes an architecture that’s lived within, quite literally by our friends, our families, and our very selves.”

To learn more about the exhibition and to read White’s review, please visit these links.

Click on the image above for a complete gallery view and details.