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Olympia: Photographs by Polixeni Papapetrou

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Polixeni Papapetrou
Flying cards 2004
from the Wonderland series 2004
type C photograph
105.0 x 105.0 cm 
Private collection
© The estate of Polixeni Papapetrou, Michael Reid Gallery (Sydney) and Jarvis Dooney (Berlin)

Olympia: Photographs by Polixeni Papapetrou

27 Sep 2019 - 15 Mar 2020

This exhibition comprises photographs by Australian photographer Polixeni Papapetrou (1960–2018) of her daughter Olympia, covering the period from Olympia’s birth (1997) until the artist’s death (2018). Throughout this time, Olympia played a particularly important role in the artist’s image making, assuming the complex roles of model and muse, collaborator and champion.

Following the birth of her daughter, Papapetrou’s work underwent a significant change. Her earlier work had focused on the carefully constructed and stage-managed worlds of people who lived, worked and played in disguise, including drag queens, wrestlers and avid Elvis fans. However, after Olympia’s birth, Papapetrou began photographing her children, Olympia and Solomon, and later their friends. Rather than making Papapetrou’s world smaller, this apparently inward turn opened up a limitless world of play acting, imagination and storytelling.

This exhibition surveys twenty years of Papapetrou’s practice and includes works from her best-known series, as well as lesser-known images. Olympia: Photographs by Polixeni Papapetrou was curated in collaboration with the artist’s family. It draws from the NGV Collection and the artist’s estate, and is the first major museum retrospective of Papapetrou’s work.

The NGV is publishing a monograph to coincide with the exhibition. It covers twenty years of Papapetrou’s practice and features contributions from Susan van Wyk, NGV Senior Curator of Photography; Robert Nelson, art critic and widower of Papapetrou; and Papapetrou’s children, Olympia and Solomon Nelson.

Image:
Polixeni Papapetrou
Flying cards 2004
from the Wonderland series 2004
type C photograph
105.0 x 105.0 cm 
Private collection
© The estate of Polixeni Papapetrou, Michael Reid Gallery (Sydney) and Jarvis Dooney (Berlin)

Gallery Details

National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)
T: 61 3 8620 2222
W: ngv.vic.gov.au

Opening Hours
Open 10am–5pm daily 
Check NGV website for public holiday hours.

General entry is free. 
Some exhibitions are ticketed. Check NGV website for details.
Get Directions

NGV International
180 St Kilda Road 
Melbourne

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
Federation Square 
Melbourne


Gallery Info
Public Galleries Association Victoria (PGAV) Logo
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