Joanna Piotrowska


2016, silver gelatin hand print, 120 × 95 cm

Joanna Piotrowska developed her Shelters series in Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro and Warsaw. Assisted by the artist, persons shown in her photographs used furniture items, fabrics and personal items to build shelters in their flats, in emulation of structures recalled from childhood games. The resulting series of works is something akin to an inventory of ephemeral structures as well as a collection of psychological portraits of their residents: some constructions are solid and minimalist, others fragile and chaotic. Items used in their development and the photograph-captured environment offer a sense of the interests, lifestyle, and social status of Piotrowska’s subjects. The titular Shelters is open to interpretation: Are we witness to a children’s game, or to an attempt at restoring our sense of security in uncertain times? Are these shelters safe oases, or traps isolating inhabitants from the outside world?

b. 1985, Warsaw

Photographer. She studied photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków and the Royal College of Art in London. Her works explore issues of interpersonal relations in the context of politics, economics, and family and public life. She frequently photographs her immediate environment, family and friends, and residential interiors. She arranges partially staged scenes for her art, recording them with an analogue photographic camera. Household interiors take on the properties of theatrical stages, becoming venues of daily performances. Her black-and-white pictures dramatise ordinary gestures, pointing to the invisible mechanisms of power and emotional dependency. She participated in the 10th Berlin Biennale in 2018. She lives and works in London.

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