A Performative Paradox
Polixeni Papapetrou is one of Australia's leading contemporary photomedia artists. She has been exploring relationships between history, contemporary culture, landscape, identity and childhood through her photographic practice since the mid-eighties. In this exhibition, selected by Professor Anne Marsh in consultation with the artist, a particular thread has been selected across Papapetrou's practice—that of the performative—from her early documentary work through to her directorial work with her children from 2002 to the present.
Papapetrou's enduring interest, across all her work, is in how the other is represented and how the other performs in reinforcing our own identity. Marilyn Monroe impersonators, Elvis Presley fans, body builders, circus performers, drag queens and children take their turn in front of her camera, visibly at ease in her presence. This exhibition presents Papapetrou's earlier, perhaps lesser-known, black and white work in the context of her highly-regarded staged photography, and includes previously unseen images from Papapetrou's early series.