Francesca Woodman solo show opens

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She may have committed suicide at the age of 22, but Francesca Woodman left behind a highly personal and well respected body of work following her death in 1981. Now, a new solo exhibition of the American’s work is open at the Victoria Miro gallery in London’s Mayfair.

Titled Zigzag, the show considers the zigzag motif and other abstract geometrical forms that are frequent themes in Woodman’s work. The photographer produced more than 800 photographs during her short life, 25 of which are on show from 09 September, including ten works newly released from the artist’s estate.


Woodman’s approach to photography was certainly a personal one – she often placed herself in front of the lens – but the resulting images also reveal an innate sensitivity to form and composition. The use of the zigzag, as Woodman’s father George points out, “creates a world of flux without horizon, a rhythmic oscillation” – a reflection, perhaps, of the artist’s turbulent life.

Describing one of her works in a letter to a friend in 1980, Woodman said: “It will be … a long string of images held together by a long compositional zigzag, thus the corner of a building in one frame fits into the elbow of a girl in the next frame into a book in the third frame, the images are both very personal mysterious ones and harsh images of outdoor city life.”

Born in 1958 in Denver, Colorado, Woodman studied at Rhode Island School of Design from 1975 to 1979. She received a grant to spend a year in Rome to study, and lived and worked in New York and Italy until her death. Her work has been widely exhibited at galleries and museums including at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and The Photographers’ Gallery in London, among others, and is held in major collections in the US and the UK.

Francesca Woodman: Zigzag runs from 09 September to 04 October.

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