Formafantasma and Joanna Piotrowska present Sub Rosa
From June 17 until December 22, 2022, ARCH Athens hosts ‘Sub Rosa’, a photography exhibition by artist Joanna Piotrowska and design studio Formafantasma. The concept behind the creation is fleshed out through the narration of the artist, recounting an incident that she experienced some years ago during a long journey with twists and turns.
‘In 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,’ shared artist Joanna Piotrowska.
This unexpectedness has inspired the artist in a rose photo series flanked by ‘anti-frame’ framing devices, reflecting the emotionally distressing time she spent in that place.
all images by Paris Tavitian
flanked by ‘anti-frame’ framing
Polish Artist Joanna Piotrowska has invited research-based studio Formafantasma to collaborate to materialize and translate this multilayered experience into artworks. Informed by the ambiguous qualities of the interrogation room, the result sees a sequence of unconventional frames that contain Piotrowska’s photographed roses.
The team utilized stainless steel devices, elements, materials, and forms spotted in interrogation rooms. This stern materiality adds a threatening tension to the pieces and enlivens the dynamics inherent in her story. The exhibition exudes a controversial dialogue between the pureness of roses and the severity of the memories in this austere interrogation room.