by Agnieszka Mastalerz

Nodes is a project analyzing spells as an example of control over another being. I focused on the violence of persuading somebody to fall in love. I have been considering casting a spell as an influential but not direct act for which specific tools or gestures might be needed.

I chose orchids whose roots were used to influence another person, both when it comes to feelings and sexual activity. In the areas of today’s Poland and Italy, dried wild orchid roots were hidden under somebody’s clothes, or an orchid-based powder was added to goat milk which was supposed to help sexual arousal. 

On the contrary, nowadays, in a huge industrial space, hundreds of almost identical orchids run through a commercial line. Although the production is mechanized and managed by technology, the final sculptural touch on every flower goes through the working hands of women who manually shape this organic material by adding artificial backbones and cutting off the rotten parts. They use this intimate act to fit the normalized aesthetics.

With Nodes, I would like to bring attention to the powerful operations both in private and industrial environments.


Agnieszka Mastalerz, Nodes, III, medium format photograph, 2024


Dir: Agnieszka Mastalerz
1st AD: Michał Mieszczyk
DOP: Marcin Gołąb
Performer: Piotr Dobrzyński/ University of Warsaw Botanic Garden
Orchids: JMP Flowers
Production: Kris Zhebryk
Grip and Light: Ksawery Kowalski
Bolt Operator: Krzysztof Solich
Video: Łukasz Mergner

Postproduction: Blackphoton
Postproduction coordinator: Alicja Karbowska
Colorist: Hanna Rudkiewicz

Curators: Catinca Tabacaru and Raphael Guilbert
Supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute

Courtesy of the artist and the eastcontemporary gallery.

Special thanks to the Castle-Museum in Łańcut