For three selected display cases of the former Galeria Kaufhof branch in downtown Witten, which was closed in late 2020, the artist Joanna Piotrowska (b. 1985 in Warsaw) has developed almost surrealistic scenes using photographic props: oversized hands caress tree trunks; and in a shop window, a dark sea unfolds behind a mustard-yellow curtain. In lieu of the usual promises of the fashion and merchandise world, the work Dreams Are The Facts From Which We Must Proceed opens up an enraptured view of a different life. At the same time, through the site chosen, it reflects humanity’s ambivalent desires for communion with nature and, at the very same time, for material consumption. For her work in the windows of the former department store, Joanna Piotrowska zoomed in on her own black-and-white photographs, thus emancipating certain photographic elements from the medium itself.
The artist, inspired by contemporary choreographic pieces, mostly employs the medium of analogue photography. Her works often show people amidst their private surroundings, in intimate, rather enigmatic poses. Such staged scenes have a dreamlike undertone and leave behind a touching, occasionally eerie feeling. With knowledge of psychoanalysis, Joanna Piotrowska explores in her works themes like the domestic sphere, family, and women’s position within society. Indeed, the photographs always speak of the structural environment, as well as the abysmal and political dimensions in which the depicted protagonists are immersed.
The artist most recently participated in a solo exhibition at the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hanover (2022), and her work was shown at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022).
Joanna Piotrowska lives in London.
Ehemalige Galeria Kaufhof