Joanna Piotrowska, Sub Rosa, 2022 / Collaboration with FormaFantasma
Joanna Piotrowska & FormaFantasma / Sub Rosa
Oct 8 – Dec 16, 2022
Phillida Reid
London, UK

We are honored to present Sub Rosa, an exhibition by Joanna Piotrowska and design studio Formafantasma. Developed over an extended period – beginning with a residency at ARCH, Athens, where the show’s first iteration runs concurrently until December 23, 2022 – the resultant works fuse photographic prints with a series of stainless steel ‘anti-frame’ framing devices, created in site-specific response to the gallery spaces.

Comprised of elements, materials and forms found in or referring to interrogation rooms (stainless steel, a barrier, a two-way mirror, a border) the conception of the sculptural objects derives from conversations between Piotrowska and Formafantasma following a 2015 incident in which Piotrowska found herself accused of spying and questioned by local military police in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan. “After the interrogations”, she recalls, “I was released and told I should continue taking photographs. Disturbed by the experiences 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.”

Following this experience, Piotrowska continued to photograph roses, an enduring presence across shifting contexts and locations. Documenting a subject which, on its surface, might profess to sidestep controversy or place the photographer in a position of assumed neutrality, the images contain a germ of resistance or concealed power which is gestured to in the project’s title, Sub Rosa (a Latin phrase which translates as ‘under the rose’), signalling secrecy or clandestine activity.

  • Adrianna Ault: Levee

    Adrianna Ault was raised in New Orleans where a 350 mile levee system controls and holds back flood waters. This project began as Ault attempted to better understand the landscape surrounding the city, but evolved over the course of 5-years to encompass her changing family, journeys they took and the processing of grief. The levee became a metaphor for the barriers built in an attempt to ward off inevitable decline, and the onslaught of time and nature. (more…)

  • Adraint Khadafhi Bereal: The Black Yearbook
    4 Color Books / Penguin Random House

    When photographer Adraint Bereal graduated from the University of Texas, he self-published an impressive volume of portraits, personal statements, and interviews that explored UT’s campus culture and offered an intimate look at the lives of Black students matriculating within a majority white space. Bereal’s work was inspired by his first photo exhibition at the George Washington Carver Museum in Austin, entitled 1.7, that unearthed the experiences of the 925 Black men that made up just 1.7% of UT’s total 52,000 student body. (more…)