Thursday, April 25, 2013

Polixeni Papapetrou: The Ghillies

Australian photographer Polixeni Papapetrou engages part reality, part fantasy moving through the Australian landscape, using the rich terrain as a backdrop for her narratives about the transitional space of childhood. Papapetrou's art practice has involved an intimate collaboration with her children and their friends for over a decade. As they have grown and transformed, so too have the roles they perform and spaces they inhabit.

In Papapetrou's most recent body of work, The Ghillies, organic figures emerge from the ground, creating an almost symbiotic relationship with the landscape; the figures change color and shape according to the different landscapes and costumes they inhabit. A ghillie suit was originally devised for hunting and combat, and they were taken into the field to act as a decoy, disguised with matter from that landscape in order to blend with their surroundings. Papapetrou's son introduced her to ghillies through his interest in the Call of Duty video game, in which players use ghillie suits in order to become snipers and conceal themselves within the terrain. Photographing her son in the natural Australian landscape, Papapetrou addresses a boy's transformation from a youth into adulthood, and the camouflages he must take on to fit in with his peers and society.
"I wanted to make a body of work that looked at what it felt like to be a boy going through adolescence." 
~~Polixeni Papapetrou

The Ghillies
Salt Man
© Polixeni Papapetrou

Desert Man
© Polixeni Papapetrou

Study for Hattah Man and Hattah Woman
© Polixeni Papapetrou

Grasstree Man
© Polixeni Papapetrou

Magma Man
© Polixeni Papapetrou

Ocean Man
© Polixeni Papapetrou

Scrub Man
© Polixeni Papapetrou

Study for the Ghillies, 2013
© Polixeni Papapetrou

Courtesy of the artist
The Ghillies is currently on view at Jenkins Johnson Gallery, NY
April 4 - June 1, 2013
March 28 - May 4, 2013

1 comment:

  1. I love that the camouflage was taken from the environment. It is so strange to me and intriguing.


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