Photographer, painter and graphic designer. Born in 1972 in Gdynia.
Photographer, painter and graphic designer. Born in 1972 in Gdynia...
Joanna Zastróżna, photo by Michał Szlaga / East News
Zastróżna graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk in 1997, and her debut came with the "Messenger" exhibition in 1999 (ZPAF Small Gallery-CSW). Her art is based on arduous work with negatives which she paints over with painstaking care, sometimes using negative montage as well. The colour of her work is very distinctive, and her pieces often contain elements of painting and graphic design. It is not that important for the artist that the subject be photogenic, since any such considerations disappear under the strong, evocative colours she applies. Her work places strong emphasis on her skills as a graphic designer, but one who consciously makes use of photographic material. Her art speaks in metaphors rather than symbols.
Zastróżna's individual shows following her debut – "Fotografia" / "Photography" at the Baltic Sea Culture Centre in Gdańsk in 2000; and "Nr 3" at the ZPAF Small Gallery-CSW in Warsaw in 2001 – solidified the artist's intention to continue her experiments with colour and her search for an ambience of surrealism. Her latest works, a continuation of her earlier studies, were presented in 2004 at her solo exhibition at the PGS National Art Gallery in Sopot.
Zastróżna's interests encompass both fine-art and advertising photography, without making sharp distinctions between the two. She also enjoys easel painting, as it allows her to focus on issues other than those involved in photography. Her photographs disregard many of the traditional features of the medium, such as perspective, light and space. Instead, her interests lie primarily in a painterly psychological analysis with a focus on the figure – whether male or female – and the mutual relations that evoke symbolic associations. An ominous or even apocalyptic mood can be perceived in many of her works, a result of both the baroque-like character of her photography and her own introverted personality.Zastróżna has taken part in a number of major group shows in Poland, such as "Wokół dekady. Fotografia polska lat 90." / "‘Round the Decade. Polish Photography of the 1990s" in 2002. Her work has also been exhibited abroad, in shows that include "Jutro jest dziś" / "Tomorrow is Today" in Osaka in 2000; "Przenikanie" / "Permeation", part of "Photography Month" in Bratislava in 2000; and "Archipelag" / "Archipelago" at the 6th Internationale Fototage in Herten, Germany in 2001.
Her summer 2010 exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, entitled "My Little Catastrophes", reached beyond the photographic medium's literalism through the graphic use of colour, intimate gestures and conceptual photography technique. The artist was highly engaged in the project, drawing upon her own personal experiences and transforming them into several visualisations as a continuation of her earlier series.
A number of Zastrożna's works are included in the collection of The Museum of Art in Łódź.
Author: Krzysztof Jurecki, The Museum of Art in Łódź, April 2004
Translated by: Helena Chmielewska-Szlajfer, August 2010. Updated September 2010.