Athena Papadopoulos: A portrait
Athena Papadopoulos was born in 1988 in Toronto, CA. She 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. Selected solo and group exhibitions include Cain and Abel Can’t and Able, MOSTYN (Llandudno, Wales, 2020); Athena Papadopoulos, Emalin (London, UK, 2020), and The Condition of Being Addressable, ICA (Los Angeles, US, 2020), The Apple Nun, Liebaert Projects (Kortrijk, BE, 2019); Holy Toledo, Takotsubo!, curated by CURA, Kunsthalle Lissabon (Lisbon, PT, 2019); A Tittle-Tattle-Tell-A-Tale Heart, Humber Street Gallery (Hull, UK, 2019); 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), Place Vendôme, Berthold Pott (Cologne, DE, 2019); World Receivers, curated by Tiffany Zabludowicz, Zabludowicz Collection (London, UK, 2019); The Marvelous Cacophony, curated by Gunnar B. and Danielle Kvaran, 57th October Salon (Belgrade, RS, 2018); Streams of Warm Impermanence, David Roberts Art Foundation (London, UK, 2016); Wild Style, Peres Projects (Ber- lin, DE, 2016); Bloody Life, Herald St., London, UK, 2016).
From CURA.23 Athena Papadopoulos in conversation with Samuel Leuenberger
"The artworks arrived in a large van disguised in furniture covers. Before bringing them to the room we asked the hotel staff to remove the furnishing from our suite that would not fit. I think they were confused to say the least. My favorite part of the set-up period had to be when a procession of bellhops came with their golden trolleys to collect our truckload of “furniture,” not to mention that during the install I had to have fake coughing fits to cover up the sound of drilling."
(September 2020 – September 2021)
With Athena Papadopoulos, Gina Folly, Hannah Levy, Ebecho Muslimova, Berenice Olmedo, Jenna Sutela, Kate Cooper, Yu Ji (ongoing)
INCORPOREA is a year-long choral exhibition set up as to develop and transform itself over time, and aimed at investigating the body in all its folds and meanings: the body as a revolutionary space, of antagonism and freedom, expression and research, self-definition and power, identity and gender. Going across different generations and media, starting from new artistic expressions and going back towards the historical avant-gardes, INCORPOREA investigates the practices that have uncovered, transformed, and re-imagined the body and the speculations it has inspired. In this context, Athena Papadopoulos has surgically reconfigured her sculptural paintings by transplanting elements of detritus – precious and toxic paraphernalia that act both as infection and cure – onto and into these bodies. In doing so, the artist occupies the position of the surgeon, incising wounds and opening cavities, both treating and exacerbating the dis(eased) bodies at hand; as Papadopoulos notes, by “re-stitching imagery from one ‘body’ of work to the next, to some extent [I am] living my dream of being a plastic surgeon – a profession I was adamant about pursuing as a child.”
Holy Toledo, Takotsubo!
KUNSTHALLE LISSABON curated by CURA.
(May 14 – August 20, 2019)
On the occasion of CURA.’s takeover of the Kunsthalle Lissabon in Spring 2019, CURA. presented the continuation of its ongoing program at BASEMENT ROMA with a project on doubling as well as otherness. Holy Toledo, Takotsubo! was the first institutional solo exhibition in Portugal by the Canadian London-based artist Athena Papadopoulos. Holy Toledo, Takotsubo! presented a wordplay that referred to the cathartic, fear-induced, and physical sorrow that psycho-emotional journeys can provoke. The title wanted to echo the idea of ‘loving something to death:’ being so overly attached to something or someone to the point of becoming physically heartbroken. Takotsubo syndrome refers to a medical condition resulting from traumatic emotional distress—a break-up or the loss of a loved one—and weakens the heart, causing the person unbearable chest pain.
BASEMENT ROMA curated by Samuel Leuenberger
(March 17 – May 30, 2017)
“Belladonna’s Muse is a portrait or more likely even, a state of mind. Like a dreamscape that draws itself into a physical space, characters appear in forms of soft sculpture. The lively objects use as a point of departure personal experiences that belong to Athena Papadopoulos’ way of storytelling. Cut and paste images drawn from the artist’s archive are sewn together and laid over volumes of bulging materials. One gets the impression he or she is reading the artist’s diary, somewhere describing her life with an aggressively lyrical tenure while having accepted a somber state of dystopia. Belladonna’s Muse suggests beautiful and elegant women who might convene, spend time together and inspire. The title is, however, an oxymoron: at once, it suggests a degree of adoration from one person to another, while at the same time belladonna is also a deadly nightshade plant used as a sedative; when consumed in large quantities, it is poisonous. The plant received its name via its homeopathic application by women in high society, many years ago, since the cherry extract, once swallowed, widens the pupils – a desirable effect for many. The exhibition at BASEMENT ROMA is entered through an intestinal pink tunnel, sickly sweet like the artificial taste of Pepto-Bismol: one is lead through different interpretations of the fictional and non (physically and mentally speaking), incorporating a series of gangrenous leg sculptures, an abstract portrait of the artist’s grandmother and objects ranging from disembodied yet sexy legs to amputated, putrid and supersaturated ones.”
IN CONVERSATION WITH
BOOKS AND EDITIONS:
A TITTLE-TATTLE TELL-A-TALE HEART
A TITTLE-TATTLE TELL-A-TALE HEART
SPECIAL ARTIST EDITION
Video by HP Parmley