the outlines of a form emptied of everything but form itself

December 7, 2011 § 6 Comments

Francesca Woodman, Untitled

Dear _________,

I, of course, agree. You were hiding in plain sight again, weren’t you? Plain, perhaps, but certainly not ordinary. No, never that.

Your departures, as much from yourself as from us, those blanks unmentioned and breaks untold, the outlines of a form emptied of everything but form itself — these come, always, with a cost. To succeed in these is a peculiarly welcome failure, though. How else could we, those of plain sight, see anything at all?

Your absences, you surely know, are a taking leave that are never quite achieved. And for this we, & more importantly I suspect you, are grateful. Because you want to be seen as unseen, don’t you? You are the best at hiding because you are in fact the worst at it.

Where the exhibitionist has made the anonymity of sight into a fetish of pursuit, for you is it a curse somehow to redeem?

The inevitability of a name is as much birthright as it is tombstone.

Francesca Woodman, Untitled

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§ 6 Responses to the outlines of a form emptied of everything but form itself

  • Nin Andrews says:

    This is an incredible blog. I don’t know the work of Francesca Woodman, and now I feel completely amazed.
    Thank you for these amazing posts.

  • Brad Johnson says:

    Thank you, Nin. A friend of Tom Clark’s blog is a friend of mine.

    Shamefully, I’d never clicked your name in his various threads so as to discover for myself your very fine-looking blog. I’m remedying that oversight now.

    I’m not sure where you are located, but if you are anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, you should take advantage of the very fine exhibition of Woodman’s work at the Moma. Unsure if it has already been exhibited in NY or is set to be so later. I was going through a particularly uninspired period in recent weeks. I’m using her work to kickstart myself back to inspiration.

  • Nin Andrews says:

    She is an inspiration!
    As to SF, alas, I live in Poland.
    Poland, Ohio . . .

  • Brad Johnson says:

    Ah . . . Ohio. One of my homelands. Though mostly the south. Rarely ventured north of Columbus in my years there, save for a very random quasi-romantic road trip to Akron.

  • Diana Hereld says:

    I continue to stand in dumbfounded amazement. To all of it.

  • tom clark says:

    Is it strange to admit that one cannot help wondering what might have become of Francesca Woodman had she grown up and actually become a woman?

    To paraphrase the Keir Dullea line toward the end of 2001 (speaking of dumbfounded amazement), “All those worlds…”

    And ah, Ohio nostalgia. Once, at this time of year, some jolly pseudo-brothers drove a companion and myself, blindfolded, into the snowy nowhere lands about 35 miles SE of that great cosmopolitan slag heap, Cleveland, and dropped us off, to make our way back in the dark.

    Survived that.

    Then a few days later, fell down a staircase and through a double-pane glass window, with wire mesh between the panes. Five lonely nights in downtown General Hospital, skin grafts encasted à la Invisible Man, the dismal city lights blinking feebly through the institutional windows, casting curious distorted shadows upon the high, age-yellowed ceiling.

    Ah, the memories!

    Give me Jupiter any time!

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