Playing The House
Here, the breast is at once a dismembered body part, yet also merges visually in one's imagination to become a loaf of bread. The artist, as a child, struggles to unite this symbol of motherly affection and care with the very real sacrifice mothers silently make. The apples present in the background give rise to the resolution of this conundrum. Like Eve plucking the fruit of knowledge, Prystaj starts to be seen not as the angry daughter, but as the next generation of women that are in turn faced with the same silent sacrifice as their mothers.
By erotically performing as a household ‘prop’, she transforms once familiar spaces into a mise en scène, highlighting the connection between the environment and the internal states of women past and present.
With a defiant humour that in turn is presented to the viewer as aggression, Prystaj desecrates and confronts objects of domestic labour. By destabilising suburban normality, the artist finally frees herself and next generations from the restrictions which disallow women from feeling liberated, in penance for their greatest gift – life.
School of Arts & Humanities
MA Photography, 2019
+44 (0)7912 164946
My work focuses on the human psyche and specifically on inherited trauma from normative gender roles existing in the domestic sphere. By revisiting my own home in American suburbia, I was reacquainted with motifs and household items used in life-long act by women to ‘play house’.
An act past generations of females have performed in order to satisfy the cultural expectation – women were taught their identity to make their home comfortable for their family and guests, care for their children and husband, and do so without showing anger, tears, or being humorous. All these emotions are synonymous with being 'unacceptable'.
In this present Zeitgeist of 'girl power' I am trying to understand where women’s newfound liberation really lies? We only know what we have experienced and have been taught – to break a chain one must first examine it and distinguish some sort of personal truth between what is fed culturally to us and what is felt internally to be right. I want to stop this pattern of taught performance and break the chain of a long-line of inherited trauma.
By erotically performing as a ‘prop’, I transform these once familiar spaces into a mise en scène, highlighting the connection between the environment and the internal states of women past and present. By aggressively and assertively impersonating or ‘playing the house’, I attempt to reclaim these estranged and alienating domestic spaces. I am turning the gaze back on to you.
With a defiant humour that in turn is presented to the viewer as aggression, I desecrate and confront objects of domestic labour. By destabilising suburban normality, I finally attempt to free Myself and the next generations from the restrictions disallowing women to feel liberated, in penance for their greatest gift – life.
- BFA Photography, Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, 2013
- 'Ethereal: A Diary Poetry', Galerie Joseph Turenne, Paris, 2019; 'Delphian Open Call 2019', The Print Space, London, 2019; Ashurst Emerging Art Prize Exhibition, Ashurst Gallery, London, 2018; Arles Festival (Dior Photography Award for Young Talents), LUMA Gallery, Arles, 2018
- Shortlisted, Pic.London:After School Collective Strategies, 2019; Shortlisted, Royal Photographic Society – 100 Heroines, 2018; Shortlisted, Ashurst Emerging Art Prize, 2018; Shortlisted (Jury Mention), Dior Young Talent Award, 2018; Shortlisted, European Photography Prize, 2018