The Spectral Self-Portraits of Francesca Woodman
By Caroline Marciniak
I have always loved Francesca Woodman’s work: her spectral self-portraits, the body at their centre yet always out of reach – its edges lost in plaster, of light and shadow as much as it is flesh. A recent exhibition highlighted the artist’s photographs from 1977–78, when she spent a formative year studying abroad in Rome. What strikes me about these images are their textures, and what texture can suggest of experience and of time. Several series are staged within the Pastificio Cerere: an abandoned, dilapidated pasta factory in Rome’s San Lorenzo neighbourhood.
Image: Francesca Woodman Self-deceit #5, Rome, Italy, 1978
© Charles Woodman
Courtesy Charles Woodman and Victoria Miro, London/Venice