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Joanna Piotrowska

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In STABLE VICES Joanna Piotrowska brings together works which share an interest in ideas of protection, freedom and oppression. One series is inspired by illustrated self-defence manuals and Psychology and Resistance by the feminist psychologist Carol Gilligan. Piotrowska appropriates the formulaic step-by-step approach of the manuals but instead of showing two people in contact, she photographs the (re)actions of one woman in conflict with an unknown, absent subject. While Gillian argues in her book that teenage girls risk losing their voice in patriarchal societies, Piotrowska seeks to re-present their agency in corporeal form, and indicates–through the invisible opponent–the underlying pressures they have to confront. 

A second series reveals precarious shelters made out of furniture and blankets, situated in domestic spaces. Sculptural in form, these temporary refuges nod to the children’s game of making houses at home, as if domestic space would not provide enough protection. The constructions also reference the makeshift ‘homes’ of homeless people. In a third series Piotrowska focuses on cages and comparable spaces created for humans.

Drawing parallels between the lives of certain communities and animals, and the environments in which they live, Piotrowska crystallises a spectrum of concerns that drive her work.


In the press
Camera Austria


Paperback with black printed edges
Printed tritone and 4c
21 x 29 cm

Publication date: 2020
ISBN 978-1-912339-39-6
€40 £35 $45