Polixeni Papapetrou was born in Melbourne, Australia where she lives and works. Papapetrou originally trained as a lawyer, graduating with a BA/LLB, University of Melbourne in 1984. In 1997, she graduated with a Master of Arts, (Media Arts), RMIT University and in 2007 with a PhD, Monash University. She currently holds the position of Adjunct Research Fellow at Monash University.
From the outset of her practice, the themes of dress-ups, performance and the representation of identity have been a common thread in her work. She has photographed Elvis Presley fans, Marilyn Monroe impersonators, drag queens and body builders as a way of exploring the relationship between history, contemporary culture and identity.
Since 2002, Papapetrou has turned her focus to the subject matter of childhood. Whether she is drawing upon ideas about the portrayal of childhood in 19th century photography (Dreamchild 2003 and Wonderland 2004), exploring the power of dress ups and role play (Phantomwise 2002), revisiting the experience of childhood in colonial Australia (Haunted Country 2006), reflecting upon a lost freedom and the regulated lives of children growing up in the world today (Games of Consequence 2008), looking at the magical affinity that children have with animals (Between Worlds 2009) or commenting on the roles that children mimic from the adult world (The Dreamkeepers 2011-2012), she is reflecting upon the different facets of childhood and presenting a picture of a more knowing child.
The main protagonists in her work have been her two children Olympia (born 1997) and Solomon (born 1999) and their friends. Papapetrou started making pictures about childhood because she wanted to communicate ideas about our culture that are best expressed through the symbol of the child, but more importantly, she is fascinated by the world of childhood. Papapetrou views childhood as the space between the worlds of infancy and adulthood. In her photographs, the children multiply their between-state and uncannily present as adult archetypes. Within these ambiguities, Papapetrou seeks to explore the space that children occupy in our cultural understanding and how they might bestride the stage of art.For more information, please visit Polixeni Papapetrou's website:
www.polixenipapapetrou.net Polixeni Papapetrou is represented by:
Stills Gallery, Sydney, Australia www.stillsgallery.com.au Nellie Castan Gallery, Melbourne, Australia www.nelliecastangallery.com LMD Galerie, Paris, France www.lmd-art.com ARTITLED!, Herpen, The Netherlands www.artitled.nl Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco & New York www.jenkinsjohnsongallery.com