Object Image

Free Fall

Kiki Smith Born 18 Jan 1954

Free Fall

Kiki Smith born 1954

Kiki Smith, a gifted sculptor and printmaker who has long focused on the human form, pictures her own body in Free Fall. Based on a photograph, the image captures the artist's limbs, face, and hair. The textures of these surfaces, enhanced by the use of infrared film, were further accentuated by the artist's use of sandpaper to mark the plate. As curator Wendy Weitman has observed, the movement of the print out of its cardboard enclosure mimics the falling implied by the title. Another metaphor is operative in the form and imagery of this self-portrait: that of birth, the "unfolding" of the creative process.

Credit: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; the Ruth Bowman and Harry Kahn Twentieth-Century American Self-Portrait Collection

Photogravure, etching and drypoint on paper
84.5 x 106.0cm
Image and text © National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2023

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