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

Tales from Elsewhere

It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards

IMAGINATION is a defining trait of the human species. For our hominid ancestors it opened up the concept of past and future, of how it might be from another person’s perspective, of weighing the balance of ‘what if…?’ Yet today it is a commodity about which we have certain ambivalence.

In childhood imagination has free rein.… Continued

The Shadow Stage

Opening address on occasion of “The Shadow Stage” photographs by Polixeni Papapetrou at Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday 9 October 2011

It is now ten years since Polixeni Papapetrou has been killing two stones with one bird: namely making beautiful, perceptive and important art whilst making beautiful, perceptive and delightful human beings in the form of her children Olympia and Solomon.… Continued

On Polixeni Papapetrou

“Photographier n’est pas prendre le monde pour objet, mais le faire devenir objet, exhumer son altérité enfouie sous sa prétendue réalité, le faire surgir comme attracteur étrange et fixer cette attraction étrange dans une image.”

Jean BAUDRILLARD, Car l’illusion ne s’oppose pas à la réalité…,
Descartes & Cie, Paris, 1998

C’est en découvrant un ouvrage de la photographe américaine Diane Arbus que Polixeni Papapetrou a ressenti sa première grande émotion en photographie.… Continued