Athena Papadopoulos

Athena Papadopoulos (b. 1988, Toronto) is an artist based in London. Papadopoulos’ multidisciplinary practice combines photographs from her personal archive with found images of excess and absurdity, alongside a combination of unusual materials to create eccentric and unexpected paintings and sculptures. She has been known to create richly dense sculptural works that play on stereotypical feminine signs. Built up of layers of material excess juxtaposed with personal imagery and drawings that are “tattooed” onto fabric skins. These sculptures can be likened to abstract sculptural manifestation of a misidentification with notions of contemporary femininity. In addition to using everything from her clothing to cushions, plush toys, chains, wigs, and textiles, Papadopoulos draws from a list of cosmetic and medicinal ingredients, applying items like self-tanner, lipstick, and hair dye to colour her works. These melodramatic characters sit uncomfortably on the edge of the glamorous and the grotesque, high and low culture, not unlike the heroines of history. With each fold, tuck, wrap, and twist, Papadopulos’ meticulously composed, sleazy, and sacrilegious productions overturn fixed notions of the lived human experience. Papadopoulos' sculptures suggest riotous narratives where fact and fiction are uncertain, and where protagonists remain mysterious and motives unclear.

Papadopoulos holds a BA Contemporary Art Theory and Visual Art, University of British Columbia (2011) and an MFA Fine Art Practice, Goldsmiths University (2013).


Solo exhibitions and commissions include ‘The New Alphabet’, Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) Toronto (2022); ‘Subjective Action’, Soft Opening, London (2021); ‘Cain and Abel Can’t and Able’, MOSTYN, Wales (2020); ‘The Apple Nun’, Liebaert Projects, Kortijk (2019); ‘Holy Toledo, Takutsobo!’, Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon (2019); ‘A Tittle-Tattle-Tell-A-Tale Heart’, Humber Street Gallery, Hull (2019); ‘The Smurfette’, Emalin, London (2017); ‘Belladonna’s Muse’, CURA Basement, Rome (2017); ‘Wolf Whistles’, Shoot the Lobster, New York (2016); ‘Rancho Rat-King-Cougar’, Supportico Lopez, Berlin (2015); ‘Zabludowicz Invites: Athena Papadopoulos’, Zabludowicz Collection, London (2015); ‘Honeymoon in Pickle Paradise’, Emalin, London (2014); ‘OUT COLD’ OTHER Projects, Berlin (2014); ‘Hair Piece’, Canada Line Public Art, King Edward Station, Canada Line, Vancouver (2011). 

Group exhibitions include The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Los Angeles (2021); Museo Madre, Napoli (2021); V.O Curations, London (2021); CURA Basement, Rome (2020); Bastione Sangallo, Loreto (2020); Miettinen Collection, Berlin (2020); Galeria Duarte Sequeira, Braga (2020); Soft Opening, London (2019); JANA, Turin (2019); Berthold Pott, Cologne (2019); Zabludowicz Collection, London (2019); Drawing Room, London (2018); Casa Studio, Palermo (2018); Galerie Sultana, Paris (2017); Carl Kostyal, Stockholm (2017); L’Inconnue, Montreal (2017); David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2016); Peres Projects, Berlin (2016); Herald St, London (2016); Les Urbaines, Lausanne (2015); ICA, London (2014); Vitrine Gallery, London (2013). 

Papadopoulos was awarded the Chisenhale Art Place Award (2015), the Peter Lloyd Lewis Studio Award (2018), and was shortlisted for the Max Mara Art Prize (2018).

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