A Study on Waitressing

A Study on Waitressing looks at the phenomena of self-representation, by questioning the fictionalised image of the waitressing woman through the study of the stage, the backstage and the performative.

The relationship between image and performativity is investigated through the image of my mother, her postures, movements, and behaviours during her job as a waitress. Her figure is used as a vehicle to address concerns on the visible and the hidden in relation to private and public behaviours, with a particular attention to the social roles we play in our every-day when we interact with our public. 

The work is deeply rooted in the psychological and sociological interests of the work of Erving Goffman and his writing on the theatricality of the everyday and on the function of the body in the interpretation of social roles.

The restaurant becomes the space where the body acts as a connector between the observer and the observed.  

A Study on Waitressing presents itself as a collection of photographs, collages, texts, archival images and videos that explore the different layers and meanings of existing within a social situation, engaging in face-to-face interactions, and playing a character that moves between individuality and social structures and exists between the real and the staged.”


(b. 1991)

Eleonora Agostini is an Italian artist based in London. She received her BA from Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan in 2013 and her MA from the Royal College of Art in London in 2018.

Eleonora’s practice shifts between photography, moving image, performance and sculpture, exploring and analysing the difficulties of how human experience is constructed. Her research is strongly connected with the experience of our surroundings and she is interested in finding a possible fracture within our socially constructed rules and the spaces we inhabit. Eleonora refers to the every-day as a space full of potential and possibilities for quests, incorporating ordinary objects and activities within her images to express and navigate its different layers and meanings.

Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in group and solo exhibitions including galleries and museums such as Almanan in Turin, Forte Belvedere in Florence, L21 Gallery in Palma de Mallorca, South London Gallery and Borough Road Gallery in London, Leeds Art Gallery in Leeds, Museo Castromediano in Lecce, MAR Ravenna, National Museum of Gdansk, and festivals such as Getxophoto International Photo Festival, Fotografia Europea in Reggio Emilia, Photo OpenUp in Padova, Circulations Festival in Paris and Format Festival in Derby.

She was one of the artists of Futures Photography 2021 (selected by Camera Torino) and Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2019. She was nominated for the Foam Paul Huf Award in 2021 and she is currently one of artists shortlisted for Premio Luigi Ghirri 2023. Eleonora’s work has been featured in multiple printed and online publications such as Der Grief, Unseen Magazine, Wallpaper, GUP Magazine, among others. Her work A Blurry Aftertaste is part of the Government Art Collection.