· Sep 18, 2020

Agnieszka Mastalerz, Untitled (supports), 2020, medium-format camera photograph. Courtesy of the artist

Warsaw-based artist Agnieszka Mastalerz works primarily with video, photography and installation. In her recent series, Supports, which was started shortly after the SARS-CoV-2 lockdown, she looks at the barely-apparent construction features in Warsaw’s Botanical Garden.

From an e-mail conversation with the artist:

In my practice, I have always been interested in the systems used to control living organisms, both physically and mentally. While taking a walk through the University of Warsaw Botanical Garden, I noticed sculpture-like, rickety, steel structures used to shape plants. I immediately thought they may resemble the scaled skeletons of the living creatures occupying the premises of the garden. Even though their purpose is to define how the plants will grow and in which direction they should develop, they restrict the movement. For now, I am observing and analysing these architectural constructions and making analogue photographs of them, black and white to focus on the composition of lines.

(...) I treat taking pictures as a part of a process which could lead me to realise an installation inspired by plant supports: how to take them out of their natural context, reshape and rescale, change the material they are made out of, to open them up to different meanings.

Mastalerz is now at the stage of transposing her photos made in Warsaw into an installation she will show in Rome, in a former greenhouse at the Orto Botanico dell'Università di Roma — La Sapienza.

All photos:
Agnieszka Mastalerz, Untitled (supports), 2020, medium-format camera photographs. Courtesy of the artist

AGNIESZKA MASTALERZ studied at Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig at the studios of Candice Breitz and Eli Cortiñas (DAAD scholarship 2019/20) and HFBK University of Fine Arts at the Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s studio in Hamburg (2017/18). She graduated from the Studio of Spatial Activities run by Mirosław Bałka at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland (2018) and she also holds a BA degree in cultural studies from the University of Warsaw, Poland (2015). In January-March 2020 Agnieszka Mastalerz was a resident at AiR Futura, Prague, Czechia. Her work has been presented in a number of venues including Wschód Gallery, Warsaw, Poland, Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy, Starak Family Foundation in Warsaw, Poland, Fondation Hippocrène in Paris, France, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Poland, and Otwock Studio, Poland, and also in the framework of the 7th Triennale der Photographie, Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Germany (2018) and Hestia Artistic Journey (grand prix, 2017).


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