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La Specola Museum, Florence, Italy: "Francesca Woodman: Alternate Stories,” Marian Goodman Gallery New York

L to R: All images by Francesca Woodman. “Untitled," Florence, Italy, c. 1976. 4 5/8 x 4 3/4 in. Gelatin silver print / “Untitled," Florence, Italy, c. 1976. 4 5/8 x 4 5/8 in. Gelatin silver print / “Untitled,” Florence, Italy, c. 1976. 5 3/16 x 5 3/16 in. Gelatin silver print / Images 4-7: “Untitled,” made at La Specola, Florence, Italy, c. 1971.

NOW ON VIEW “Francesca Woodman: Alternate Stories” at Marian Goodman Gallery through December 23rd.

Over the course of the exhibition, we’ll be sharing additional images and materials from Woodman’s archive which shed light on her process and elaborate on specific works currently on view.

"I started to photograph in 1970 when I was at boarding school. I did a lot of still lifes. The summer of 1971 I was in Florence, Italy and did a series of pictures in La Specola, the museum of 18th century anatomical waxworks there. It was my first serious project,” Francesca Woodman reflected in 1979.

After this trip to La Specola—when she photographed the curious specimens found there isolated and up close, as was typical of her earliest work—Woodman likely returned to this odd 18th century museum more than once. Around 1976, she made the series of photographs in which she inserts her active self among the gutted and encased wax models of reclining female figures.

She was evidently struck by the relationship she recognized between the models on view there and representations of the body in classical art, which led to ideas for a future project. “Although these waxworks were made for medical purposes the style of posing and details of the figures all conform to artistic conventions. My piece would juxtapose the waxworks with the artworks from which the poses and faces were unconsciously borrowed,” she wrote in a proposal in 1980.

For more information on the exhibition, click here.

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

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