Athena Papadopoulos at EMALIN / London

Athena Papadopoulos / THE SMURFETTE

28 April – 03 June 2017

Unit 4 Huntingdon Estate
Bethnal Green Rd
London E1 6JU

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’ – these intense hues draw attention
to how such 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 into and alongside imagery gleaned from literature,
art history, and popular culture.
By flattening these biographical images against a variety of cultural ones, they
become materially homogenized. The compositional gesture assumes posture.
Papadopoulos’ action of sampling and recombining images therefore becomes a
way of thinking about the construction of femininity. Within this, autobiography
functions as a point of departure for thinking through the patriarchal power
structures underpinning both the visual experiences and social relations
performed by Papadopoulos’ characters. As such, the artist’s sculptures and
paintings function as saturated explorations of the constructed nature of
subjectivity that reimagines the limits of autobiography through complex

Like loose pages torn from a journal, the ‘paintings’ on view are encrusted with
lascivious catcalls, terms of endearment, drunken pejorative slurs, and teenage
slang. Resin letters draped across the sculptures spell out double entendres and 
innuendos: TAPPED, BATTERED, BRUISED, SPIT OUT. Onomatopoeia assumes 
materiality throughout. This body of work refocuses our attention: if previous
assemblages reveal how quotidian materials are implicated in a particular type of
socialization, here the focus shifts to language’s culpability in these

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).