Francesca Woodman’s work is mainly constituted of claimed self-portraits, but also other photos which let appear a faceless body, cut by the picture’s frame or simply hidden by an object. This glance shift could debate Emmanuel Lévinas’s theory of the face epiphany, nevertheless, even when the face doesn’t reveal itself a transcendence takes place. Self-portrait is put in balance in Francesca’s Woodman’s artworks, as her photos let appear an identity under construction, which develops according to the plastic concerns of the artist and her interferences with artistic circles. It is a character in fragmentation, a non-entity (Chris Townsend) appearing as an entity, between presence and absence.
A captured fleeting moment reveals itself, made of feverish elements, which are fragile, set in motion and then frozen as by a suspension of time. Those are delicate and precarious flowers, with scents making reference to the artist’s feminine condition and to her fragile incidence on the course of events, through mirrors in which she observes herself, where we see her observing herself: a vast imitation of a narcissus recognizing himself, knowing he’s subject to our glances but not wishing to take a look, a glance trapped by the reflection which Woodman sends back to us.
She projects this lie, a fools’ game, a rhetoric of vanity; this reflection in a mirror projects the spectator towards his own introspection; the homo bulla or the paradox of representation.