Untitled, 1975-1980
© Courtesy of George and Betty Woodman

Reference URL

Untitled, 1975-1980 1975-1980
  • Artist Rooms
Most of this photograph is bathed in a blinding light, whilst a half dressed-female disappears into it. In stark contrast is the black chair in the foreground, onto which a fur stole has been casually thrown. Fur is a common Surrealist motif; seen here alongside a naked female it seems to suggest feral sexuality. Woodman’s photographs explore issues of gender and self, looking at the representation of the body in relation to its surroundings. She usually puts herself in the frame, most often hovering between voyeur and seductress. These are not conventional self-portraits, since as she is either partially hidden, or concealed by slow exposures that blur her moving figure into a ghostly presence. This underlying fragility is emphasised by the small and intimate format of the photographs.

Glossary Open

Exposure

The length of time a photosensitive surface is exposed to light. The term ‘multiple exposure’ is used to describe the act of recording more than one image on a single sheet or frame of film.

Motif

A distinctive element in a work of art or design.

Surrealism

A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.

Voyeurism

Sexual pleasure gained from secretly watching other people naked or in sexual situations.

Exposure, Motif, Surrealism, Voyeurism

Details

  • Acc. No. AR00362
  • Medium Photograph, gelatine silver print on paper
  • Size 9.80 x 10.50 cm (paper 9.80 x 12.50 cm) (framed: 45.80 x 40.20 x 2.00 cm)
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008