ARTIST ROOMS Self Evidence | Photographs by Woodman, Arbus and Mapplethorpe

Until Sun 20 Oct 2019

Open daily, 10am-5pm

Admission free


"...the sense of youthful creative energy, challenging of 20th century social norms and sadness around the final circumstances of each life [fuses] together beautifully."

The List

Highlighting the richness of the ARTIST ROOMS photography collection, which is jointly owned by National Galleries of Scotland and Tate, ARTIST ROOMS Self Evidence: Photographs by Woodman, Arbus and Mapplethorpe celebrates the work of three of the twentieth century’s most influential photographers. With a particular focus on self-portraiture and representation, the show explores the connections and similarities between these three Americans, each of whom produced bodies of work that were revolutionary, ground-breaking and at times controversial.

Francesca Woodman began exploring self-identity through photography at 13 years old and continued to experiment and develop her practice in the following decade, until her tragically early death in 1981. Her photographs speak to her agency in being both the subject and creator of the work. Drawing from the significant holding of Diane Arbus within ARTIST ROOMS, the exhibition will include the limited-edition portfolio, A Box of Ten Photographs (1969-1971), which was selected by Arbus herself and as such, can be seen as representing her creative expression and how she wished to be seen as a photographer. Finally a series of portraits of Robert Mapplethorpe explores the photographer’s varying personas, as expressed for the camera, and poignantly document his declining health as a result of having contracted AIDS. The exhibition will occur during the 30-year anniversary of his death.

Please note that this exhibition contains images of a graphic nature that may not be suitable for some visitors. These include a small selection of works which depict nudity and a sexual act. The latter is only visible once you have moved beyond the first section of the show.

The ARTIST ROOMS collection was established by Anthony d’Offay in 2008 through The d’Offay Donation, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund, and the Scottish and British Governments.

Image: Robert Mapplethorpe, Self Portrait, 1988 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

Part of Edinburgh Art Festival.


Event highlights

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Event accessibility

Exhibition accessibility

  • Large print labels
  • Wheelchair access


Gallery facilities

A full accessibility guide is available at www.accessibilityguides.org.

We provide a sensory map of the building to help visitors identify areas with changes in light, smells and noise. It locates seating areas and less crowded, quieter spaces. Printed copies are available from the front desk at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

  • Information desk
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair access
  • Hearing loop
  • Accessible toilets
  • Wheelchairs available
  • Public toilets
  • Lockers (£1/£2)
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Buggy park
  • Seating throughout
  • Bike rack

Getting here

Located in the city centre on Queen Street, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is easy to access.

  • Open daily, 10am-5pm
1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JD

Related events

Related events


Portrait Gallery Thematic Tours: Self Evidence


Sat 5 Oct 2019
2 - 2:45pm & 3 - 3:45pm


+1 other sessions

Lecture or talk

Self Evidence | Panel Discussion: 'Knowing that my work will outlive me’


Tue 15 Oct 2019

6 - 7pm


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