News Release

Power, Gender, and the Subconscious Explored in Exhibition of Joanna Piotrowska’s Evocative Photographs

April 24, 2024
Philadelphia, PA
Left: Joanna Piotrowska, Father I, 2022, silver gelatin hand print. Right: Untitled, 2014, silver gelatin hand print. Images are Courtesy of the artist and Phillida Reid, London.

Opening this summer at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA), Joanna Piotrowska: unseeing eyes, restless bodies marks the first solo presentation of Polish artist and photographer Joanna Piotrowska in the United States. In a selection of 26 photographs and one video from the past decade including new and recent work, Joanna Piotrowska: unseeing eyes, restless bodies explores the complex behavioral roles and tensions that play out in performances of everyday relationships, evoking intimacy, violence, control, and self-protection. Curated by Hallie Ringle, Daniel and Brett Sundheim Chief Curator of the ICA Philadelphia, Joanna Piotrowska: unseeing eyes, restless bodies is on view from July 13 through December 1, 2024.

Existing between performance and photography, Piotrowska’s work involves an intensive process of staging akin to choreography. Using family archives, self-defense manuals, and psychotherapeutic methods as points of artistic departure, Piotrowska carefully constructs and documents ambiguous, intimate scenes that veer into the realm of the uncanny, cultivating a sense of both familiarity and discomfort. Touch and gesture are captured in ways that simultaneously reveal moments of care and an undercurrent of latent threat.

“We are thrilled to bring attention to Joanna Piotrowska with the first-ever dedicated presentation of her work in the U.S., continuing a long history at ICA of introducing international artists to American audiences,” remarks Zoë Ryan, Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director. “Questioning how we relate to one another in terms of gender and power, Piotrowska’s work aligns with ICA’s ethos of supporting boundary-defying, experimental practices.”

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