Utilizing a list of cosmetic, medicinal, and edible ingredients, Athena Papadopoulos typically stains layers of cotton bedsheets with red wine, lipstick, hair dyes, Pepto Bismol, and self-tanner. Connoting the practice of self-augmentation - of ‘dolling oneself up’ - the intense hues she employs draw attention to how these commodified materials are marketed towards certain consumer archetypes. These archetypes then appear in drawings and photographs of women layered into dense collages: Papadopoulos chemically transfers, cuts, and stitches her own photographs alongside imagery gleaned from literature, art history, and popular culture.
By flattening biographical images against cultural ones - homogenizing them materially - the action of sampling and recombining images becomes a way of thinking about the construction of femininity. Autobiography functions as a point of departure for thinking through the patriarchal power structures underpinning both the visual experience and social relations performed by Papadopoulos’ characters. As such, the artist's sculptures and paintings function as a saturated exploration of the constructed nature of subjectivity that reimagines the limits of autobiography through complex materiality.
Athena Papadopoulos was born in Toronto, CA in 1988 and lives and works in London. She completed her MFA at Goldsmiths, London in 2013. Recent exhibitions include Belladonna's Muse, curated by Samuel Leuenberger, CURA Basement Roma (Rome, IT, 2017); Wolf Whistles, Shoot the Lobster NY (NYC, USA, 2017); 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).
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