Thu 10 Jul
‘Every activity in the relationship with a father allows “I” to develop, and at the same time destroys “I”. I find the father everywhere, where I think it’s me. There is no landscape without father.’ Franz Kafka, Letter to His Father
Joanna Piotrowska’s uncomfortable album, a series of staged family shots, insists upon the fundamental anxiety at the heart of the family: its system of relationships, adamantine bonds that are equally oppressive and rewarding. Her images display intimate family scenes – cosily paired bodies, meeting and converging, in images which teeter on the verge of a dysfunctional moment. In one snapshot, two adult brothers lie together on a Persian carpet wearing only white briefs; in another, the black-clothed bodies of two embracing women merge, suggesting the atavistic overlap of mother and daughter. The title itself, which denotes a warm or stuffy atmosphere, captures the paradoxical nature of the family: frowsty spaces are both cosy and claustrophobic, intimate and airless.