Focus

Athena Papadopoulos

Athena Papadopoulos (2018). Courtesy: the artist and Emalin, London

At the centre of Athena Papadopoulos’ presentation is a configuration of seven beds form a cluster perched on cocktail and medical trolleys. In Papadopoulos’ infirmary, viewers take sticky steps across a clinical floor to explore miniature single beds of wrought-iron steel curlicue presenting the mysterious inner worlds of the girls who once occupied them. To peer into these is to encounter fictionalised dreamscapes verging on nightmare: pillowcases, gauze and glues are modelled into fleshy forms, saturated with cosmetic, edible and medicinal fluids. At the centre of the beds, mattresses give way to paved pools clogged with butterflies and insects, wiccan trinkets along side love notes, drawings and drawn text. The beds figure as a confessional and performative space for vulnerability, angst and fantasy. Historically they have borne witness to birth, isolation and death;represented a site across which discursive, intellectual and political practices can be negotiated. Once occupied, they embody the experiences of those who leave them behind. As self-portraits in their own right, Papadopoulos’ sick-beds for the love-sick operate at the outer limits of autobiography as they wrestle with the thrills and anxieties surrounding sexuality, the body, and the unfixity of female subjectivity.

Athena Papadopoulos was born in Toronto, CA in 1988 and lives and works in London. Following her BFA at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, CA), she completed her MFA at Goldsmiths (London, UK) in 2013. Recent exhibitions include The Marvelous Cacophony, curated by Gunnar B. and Danielle Kvaran, 57th October Salon (Belgrade, RS, 2018);The Smurfette,Emalin (London, UK, 2017); Belladonna‘s Muse, curated by Samuel Leuenberger, CURA Basement Roma (Rome, IT, 2017); Wolf Whistles, Shoot the Lobster NY (NYC, USA, 2016); Streams of Warm Impermanence, David Roberts Art Foundation (London, UK, 2016); Wild Style, Peres Projects (Berlin, DE, 2016); Bloody Life, Herald St., London, UK, 2016).