Sub Rosa

Sub Rosa

ARCH Athens, 2022

Sub Rosa is the result of the collaboration between Formafantasma and artist Joanna Piotrowska.
№ 2.6.5.1 – Sub Rosa, detail
№ 2.6.5.3 – Sub Rosa, exhibition view

"Ιn 2015, I travelled to Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan. After a few days of exploring and photographing I made my way to Agdam and later Stepanakert, where I was accused of spying and subjected to interrogations by local military police. After the interrogations, I was released and told I should continue taking photographs. Disturbed by the experiences of interrogations and knowing my every move was followed, I decided to censor myself and focus my attention on what, it seemed to me, was the only safe subject in a place of military conflict – the omnipresent roses." JP
№ 2.6.5.6 – Sub Rosa, exhibition view
№ 2.6.5.11 – Sub Rosa, detail
For many years following this incident, Piotrowska kept returning to photographing roses and reflecting on them in the context of her time in Nagorno-Karabakh. Inspired by the ambiguous qualities of the interrogation room as a starting point, she invited Formafantasma to collaborate on translating this multilayered experience into objects. The result of the collaboration is a series of “anti-frame” framing devices that contain Piotrowska’s images of roses. These stainless steel devices, made of elements, materials and forms found in interrogation rooms, impose a threatening tension upon the prints, and replicate the power dynamics inherent in her story.
№ 2.6.5.13 – Sub Rosa, exhibition view
№ 2.6.5.16 – Sub Rosa
№ 2.6.5.23 – Sub Rosa
№ 2.6.5.22 – Sub Rosa, exhibition view

Notes, References and External Links

1. Joanna Piotrowska (b. 1985) lives and works between London and Warsaw. She studied Photography at the Royal College of Art in London and Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. Her photographic practice focuses on familial structures and their relationship to the wider systems – including politics, economics, social, and cultural life. She explores the past and the present, showing all the inequalities of power and psychological drama, and translating the gestures and everyday intimate behaviours into new scenarios – giving them an almost caricature-like quality.

2. ARCH is an independent, non-profit arts organization. ARCH provides opportunities for professionals in the contemporary visual arts to develop their practice, explore connections and build collaborations with colleagues, communities and institutions in Athens through its exhibition and residency programs. ARCH supports and facilitates the professional development of cultural practitioners at all levels of their careers.


Contributors

CONCEPT, DESIGN Andrea Trimarchi, Simone Farresin
DEVELOPMENT Jeroen Van De Gruiter, Ibrahim Kombarji
PHOTO CREDITS Paris Tavitian

Literature

Designboom, Formafantasma & Joanna Piotrowska incarnate ambiguous emotions into rose photo series