Joanna Piotrowska’s psychologically charged photographs probe human behaviour and the dynamics of familial relations, exploring intimacy, violence, control, and self-protection. The artist reveals moments of care as well as hierarchies of power, anxieties, and imposed conventions that play out in the domestic sphere. In the Frantic series (2016–2019), Piotrowska invites her subjects to construct makeshift shelters in their own homes out of readily available domestic objects. While reminiscent of the innocent children’s activity of fort-building, the proposed activity also exposes the home as a space loaded with complex emotions and embodied memory. In Untitled (2017) a couple crouches, barely covered by their construction, while in Untitled (2017) a young woman lies on the floor surrounded by pillows and blankets – typically suppliers of comfort – with her arms raised in surrender and with a fixed gaze. The black-and-white photographs in Piotrowska’s Self-Defense series (2014–15) depict young women, most often in their bedrooms, performing gestures and actions from self-defense manuals, implying the structural violence against women in a patriarchal society as well as the possibility of rebellion against such a culture. Through these unsettling images, Piotrowska challenges conventional narratives of the family and the home and their irreconciled tension with the reality of the wider socio-political realm.