On Polixeni Papapetrou

‘Photographing is not about taking the world as an object but making it become an object, exhuming its hidden alterity under its pretended reality, to make it rise like a strange attractor and fix this strange attraction in its image.’

Jean Baudrillard, Because the illusion is not opposed to the reality
Descartes & Cie, Paris 1998

It was in discovering a work of the American photographer Diane Arbus that Polixeni Papapetrou felt her first great emotion in photography.… Continued

An analysis of the Art Monthly Australia controversy

The world debate over naked children in art that arose over Polixeni Papapetrou’s pictures in Art Monthly Australia is bigger than art and touches on civil liberties. This has been acknowledged obliquely in international media, with papers such as El Universal in Mexico expressing surprise that the debate had arisen in Australia and not an ultraconservative country like Iran (15 July 2008).… Continued

Bonfire of the Vanities

By Adrian Martin

Surveying the already extensive photographic art of Polixeni Papapetrou, one cannot fail to recall Oscar Wilde’s famous witticism: ‘It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances’. Or even better: ‘I love acting. It is so much more real than life’.

All of Papapetrou’s models are raised up to a realm far beyond mundane, everyday existence.… Continued

Strike A Pose

By Adrian Martin

More than ever, contemporary photography in Australia (as in the rest of the world) is splitting starkly into two camps. On the one hand, there is documentary photography, bearing witness to the extremes of suburban grunge and the spontaneous effusions of daily life. And on the other hand, an extremely stylised type of photography which revels in artifice, in the constructed image.… Continued

Polixeni Papapetrou

In Authority (2000), Polixeni Papapetrou juxtaposes photographs she has taken of friends wearing designer T-shirts with well-known examples of royal and aristocratic portraiture. Thus on either side of a picture of Sir Walter Raleigh we have a photo of an attractive Italian-looking woman twisting her hands in a Versace singlet and a powerfully-built dark-skinned man flexing his muscles in a Helmut Lang.… Continued