ARCH Athens, 2022
Sub Rosa is the result of the collaboration between Formafantasma and artist Joanna Piotrowska.
"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
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.