"...the sense of youthful creative energy, challenging of 20th century social norms and sadness around the final circumstances of each life [fuses] together beautifully."
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 celebrated the work of three of the twentieth century’s most influential photographers. With a particular focus on self-portraiture and representation, the show explored 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 included 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 explored 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 occured during the 30-year anniversary of his death.
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.
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