Eden and Beyond

Polixeni Papapetrou Eden and Beyond 2016

Eden and Beyond

The series Eden arose out of a project that had been commissioned by the Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP), Melbourne in 2015. I was asked to create works in response to the Melbourne General Cemetery. I photographed flowers obtained from the cemetery against a black backdrop to invoke ideas about mourning and remembrance.… Continued

A Performative Paradox

A Performative Paradox

Polixeni Papapetrou’s early experiments with photography fit into the documentary tradition but they also collide with the concept of the performative. In some respects this is driven by the subjects she choses to work with, especially the drag queens, circus personalities and Elvis impersonators she photographed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. All of these people are, one way or another, performing identities.… Continued

Polixeni Papapetrou in conversation with Natalie King

Polixeni Papapetrou flexes the camera’s hold on her subjects: her children, their friends and the Australian landscape. Whether embedded in rural settings, disguised by masks and costumes or embellished with accoutrements, she is a masterful narrator. These carefully arranged scenarios are tales without endings; stills from a lifelong inquiry into our relationship with each other, with ourselves and our context. Intimate and poignant, each vignette has a taut composition that tells stories of love and loss.… Continued

Under my skin

‘deep in the heart of…’

‘Under my skin’ represents a selection of work drawing on four photographic series by Polixeni Papapetrou, one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists who has been exhibiting her photography since 1986 to an ever-growing audience and critical acclaim. The selection focuses on Papapetrou’s ‘masked’ series, i.e., those series in which the human ‘actor’ or actors in her photographs literally wear a mask.… Continued

Meditations on Lost Psyche — Robert Nelson

Songs for the end of rhapsody


The thoughts that thrill the mind are of their time

and don’t transcend the hour from which they sprang.

We dream of fixing moments, holding smoke

that streams between the fingers as we clutch:

the harder is our grip, the less we grasp,

the more we squeeze it out and end the space.

I think my thoughts stand tall, expand, transmit,

are in a thousand listening ears at once,

that beauty which is shared could range beyond

and spread its happy humours outward, onward,

yet buoyed by copious vanity: how it’s mocked

when future ears are deaf and eyes are blind

to all the witnesses of closed experience!… Continued

Melancholia — Robert Nelson



Take a look at my face and examine the joy

that my costume expresses and actions employ.

I have trouble disguising my world-weary frown

which is etched in the mask of an obsolete clown.

My career was to laugh and encourage delight

by an abject grotesqueness that also brings fright.

I’m eternally twisted, distorted and morphed

with extravagant pride in what ought to be dwarfed;

I’m enormous and tiny, a knave beyond scale

who makes light of the tragic or sorrowful tale

but who then inexplicably waxes morose

when the story is happy or tender or close.… Continued