For their participation at Condo Mexico City 2018, hosted by Arredondo Arozarena, Madragoa and Dawid Radziszewski are delighted to present a solo exhibition by Joanna Piotrowska (Warsaw, 1985) as a conversation between different bodies of works created in the past few years by the artist.
Joanna Piotrowska’s practice is rooted in performance and is focused on the investigation on human body, which is the protagonist of all the exhibited works. Her photographs, as well as films, are based on an exploration of body language that does not express univocal, clear meanings, but constantly shifts to convey ambiguous perceptions, feelings of discomfort, of subtle violence, due to the tense poses and gestures that the portrayed people assume.
In Self-defence, the artist captures a number of young women re-enacting poses from self-defence manuals. Caught in an aggressive or defensive attitude towards an invisible enemy, the young women in their wisely disarticulated poses show more than anything else their fragility.
The same poetics is at the base of the film Untitled (2016), in which a young girl standing in front of the camera is pointing with her finger to distinct parts of her body. This simple choreography is a corporal enactment of diagrams targeting the “week spots” of the human body, drawn from self-defence manuals, that illustrate how victims can defend themselves by striking at those spots. The premise of violence is sublimated by the calm gesture of the performer who, while exposing her own fragility, questions the roles of victim and aggressor. Untitled (2016) shows the close up of a left arm and hand continuously caressed by the opposite right hand. Self-touch gestures, considered by psychologists as a therapy to combat anxiety and loneliness, are repeated over time in the video, manifesting the strangeness of the body as an object. The photographs from Frantic (2016-17) investigate the relationship between bodies and the space they inhabit. They document a series of temporary shelters built inside different houses, using all sort of materials found in the same houses. The shootings of the exhibited photographs took place in Lisbon, London, Rio de Janeiro and Warsaw, where the artist involved local people to erect inside their own apartments or gardens a shelter they could inhabit, using furnitures for the structure and selecting personal objects they would live with. The result is a series of different environmental assemblages that look like their authors: some are solid and minimal, some are complicated and fragile, giving the impression they can collapse at any time. The presence inside the shelters of their creators, the bodies that barely fit in, reveal them to be traps rather than comfortable places.