Joanna Piotrowska


The practice of London based Polish artist Joanna Piotrowska involves photography, video and performance. After studying Photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Piotrowska received her MA from the Royal College of Art in London. Her work was exhibited by renowned institutions including Tate Britain (2019), Kunsthalle Basel (2019), 10th Berlin Biennale (2018) and MoMA, New York (2018). She is the 2018 recipient of the Lewis Baltz Research Fund Award.

Joanna Piotrowska’s psychologically charged work explores human relations and its gestures of care, self-protection and control. Although her photographs feature everyday motifs, they do not show ordinary or candid situations. As the curator George Vasey points out: “Each image resists easy assimilation, like reading a book with the pages torn out, the images are enigmas.”

The performative aspect plays a fundamental role in the construction of the artist’s work. Piotrowska asks her subjects to perform certain actions and they respond actively in order to let underlying psychological structures and conditionings emerge. The resulting images may look awkward or even disturbing, but as the psychoanalyst and writer Anouchka Grose suggests: “While Piotrowska’s photos might initially look sinister, it’s also easy to imagine the subjects suddenly bursting into laughter.”

Piotrowska’s oeuvre investigates the interaction between the human body and the environment, which is charged with social, political and anthropological issues. Through decontextualisation and exaggeration the artist challenges seemingly obvious settings and assumptions, such as the common equation of home=family=safety. Her work thus invites viewers to reconsider certainties that were taken for granted.


Born 1985 in Warsaw, Poland.

Lives and works in London, UK.


2011 – 2013

MA Photography, Royal College of Art, London, UK

2004 – 2009

BA Photography, Academy of Fine Arts, Cracow, Poland

Grants, Awards and Residencies


Toride, Hagiwara Projects, Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Camera Austria Award for Contemporary Photography by the City of Graz, Austria

Ellen Auerbach Scholarship for Photography, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany


Artist in Residence, ARCH, Athens, Greece


Lewis Baltz Research Fund Award


Inclusartiz Institute Residency, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Reda Prize, Artissima, Turin, Italy

Nomination for Paul Hamlyn Foundation Prize


Plat(t)form, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland

Photoworks & Jerwood Award


First Book Award, MACK Books, London, UK


Genesis Foundation Scholarship


Hidden Places artist in residence, Görlitz, Germany

Solo Exhibitions


unseeing eyes, restless bodies, ICA, Philadelphia, USA


Entre Nous, LE BAL, Paris, France

Toride, Hagiwara Projects, Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan


Joanna Piotrowska. Sleeping Throat. Bitter Thirst, Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany

Joanna Piotrowska & Formafantasma. Sub Rosa, ARCH, Athens, Greece


Joanna Piotrowska. Are We Home Yet?, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany

Joanna Piotrowska. Thump, Stiftung Insel Hombroich, Neuss, Germany


Joanna Piotrowska. Frowst, Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland

Madragoa Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal


Joanna Piotrowska. Stable Vices, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Joanna Piotrowska. All our false devices, Tate Britain, London, UK


CONDO Mexico City, Madragoa and Dawid Radziszewski hosted by Arredondo/Arozarena, Mexico

Frieze London, Southard Reid booth, London, UK


SP-Arte, Madragoa Gallery booth, São Paulo, Brasil

Joanna Piotrowska. Untitled, Southard Reid, London, UK

Joanna Piotrowska, Dawid Radziszewski Gallery, Art Basel/Statements, Basel, Switzerland


Joanna Piotrowska, Dawid Radziszewski Gallery, LISTE 2016, Basel, Switzerland

Frantic, Madragoa Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal

Joanna Piotrowska, Dawid Radziszewski Gallery, Warsaw, Poland


Joanna Piotrowska. Frowst, Ethnographic Museum, Photomonth, Kraków, Poland

How Are You?, Księgarnia | Wystawa, Cracow, Poland

Joanna Piotrowska. Hester, Southard Reid, London, UK


Joanna Piotrowska, s.w.a.l.k. Project Space, Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland, UK

Group Exhibitions


Stranger Things, Neue Galerie Gladbeck, Germany

The Breath of a House is the Sound of Voices Within, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany

The Yebisu International Festival for Art and Alternative Visions 2024, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan

I Opened the Curtain to See What Lays Behind, carlier | gebauer, Berlin, Germany

2023 – 2024

Her Voice Echoes of Chantal Akerman, FOMU, Antwerpen, Belgium


This is me, this is you, The Eva Felten Photography Collection, Museum Brandhorst, Munich, Germany

The Land Before Time, Veterinary Faculty Leipzig, University of Leipzig, Germany

Chosen Family, Kunstmuseum Ravensburg, Ravensburg, Germany

Oltre Terra. Why Wool Matters, Formafantasm at The National Museum of Oslo, Norway

Ruhr Ding: Schlaf, Urbane Künste Ruhr, Germany

Cursed Union, Friends Indeed, San Francisco, USA

Sisters & Brothers: 500 Years of Siblings in Art, Kunsthalle Tübingen, Germany

Achaeologists of Memory: Vitols Contemporary Art Collection, Kumu Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn, Estonia

L’Irrésolue (The Irresolute), Frac Ile-de-France Le Plateu, Paris, France


Biennale d’art contemporain de Lyon, Lyon, France

The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy

European Trails. Europäische Fotokünstlerinnen der Gegenwart, H2 – Zentrum für Gegenwartskunst, Augsburg, Germany


British Art Show IX, touring exhibition of contemporary art, various locations, UK

The Architecture of Confinement, BNKR – current reflections on art and architecture, Munich, Germany

60 years, Tate Britain, London, UK


BOOKS. An exhibition of books about art and art about books, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany

La Boite – en – Valise, Office Baroque, Antwerp, Belgium

Museum for Preventive Imagination – Editorial, MACRO, Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, Rome, Italy

Our Red Sky, Göteborgs Konsthall, Göteborg, Sweden

Paranoia TV, Graz Biennale, Graz, Austria

Our Red Sky, Göteborgs Konsthall, Göteborg, Sweden

Emotion and Structure, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany

Paranoia TV, on view at, on the Paranoia TV app, on Ö1 Kulturradio & ORF Steiermark, and at various locations in Graz and Styria, Austria


Tell me about yesterday tomorrow, Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism, Munich, Germany

occupy and echo (a stage), Reading Room, Melbourne, Australia

Yorkshire Sculpture International, Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds, UK

Coimbra Biennial of Contemporary Art Coimbra, Portugal

Jen Liu, Joanna Piotrowska, Jesse Wine, Simone Subal, New York, USA


Antarctica. An Exhibition On Alienation. Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria

SUPERSTITION, Museum Marres, Maastricht, Netherlands

Structures of meaning | Architectures of perception, Gateway, Abu Dhabi, UAE

SCULPTURES, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, USA

We don’t need another hero, 10th Berlin Biennale, Berlin, Germany

Being: New Photography 2018, MoMA – Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

Material Environments, The Tetley, Leeds, UK

Condo Mexico City, ArredondoArozarena hosting Madragoa and Dawid Radziszewski Gallery, Mexico


Big towers, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore

GAUDIOPOLIS, Off-Biennale, Budapest, Hungary

ROOM, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre

These Rotten Words, Chapter Art Centre, Cardiff, UK

ROOM, Sadie Coles, London, UK

Give Me Yesterday, Prada Foundation, Milan, Italy


Frantic, Madragoa Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal

Such Are Promises, Darren Bader, Sadie Coles, London, UK

Salon of New Photography 2016, Raster Gallery, Warsaw, Poland

Give Me Yesterday, Osservatorio Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy


True Players, W139, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Lea Cetera, Daniel Lipp & Joanna Piotrowska, Sunday Art Fair, London, UK

Altrimenti che essere, Galleria Oltredimore, Gender Bender Festival, Bologna, IT

Kombucha, Bunkier Sztuki, Kraków, Polen

Jerwood and Photoworks Awards 2015, Jerwood Space, London, UK

Art Lending Library project by Walker & Bromwich, Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland, UK

Krasna-Krausz Book Awards and First Book Award 2015, Media Space, Science Museum, London, UK


What love has to do with it, Project Space, Hayward Gallery, London, UK


Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK

21st Century Art and Design, RCA 2013, Christie’s, London, UK

Sleeper Wakes, Aperto Gallery, St Petersburg, Russia

Family Politics, Jerwood Space, London, UK

Fly me through the night, Pilot. Private house at Primrose Hill, London, UK

Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Spike Island, Bristol, UK

Call XV, Luis Adelantado Gallery, Valencia, Spain

MA Graduation Show, Royal College of Art, London, UK


The Suspension of History, Basement Project Space, Cork, Ireland


Sittcomm.award, Wyspianski Pavilion, Cracow, Poland

5128 Zpafiska Gallery, Cracow, Poland

Public Collections

Tate Britain, London, UK

Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

British National Photography Collection, Bradford, UK

Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland, UK

KOLUMBA, Art museum of the Archdiocese Cologne, Cologne Germany

The ING Polish Art Foundation, Warsaw, Poland

Arts Council Collection, London, UK

Selected Bibliography


Entre nous. Joanna Piotrowska, MACK co-published with LE BAL, London, UK


Joanna Piotrowska. Stable Vices, MACK, London, UK


Joanna Piotrowska. Frantic, Humboldt Books, Milan, Italy


Joanna Piotrowska. Frowst, MACK, London, UK (Winner of the 2014 MACK First Book Award)







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