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9 July – 8 August. Where does childhood begin and end? In Polixeni Papapetrou’s series, Between Worlds, children are portrayed as animals caught between the worlds of infancy and adulthood and animal and human. In Papapetrou’s work there is identification with the world of children that is rare and remarkable. Read more…
She sees children themselves as ‘between worlds’, between infancy and adulthood and is committed to the portrayal of the reality of children. Yet she does more than identify, creating fantastical worlds that only adults can truly understand and relate to.
In Between Worlds, Papapetrou has photographed children acting as animals in the landscape. The identity of her child actors is discretely hidden behind animal masks. The animal like children appear as something we recognise, but also as unrecognisable alien, hybrid creatures or an interspecies. This clever device elevates her characters to participants in an absurdist drama which is both recognisable and surprising. There is a challenging confusion as the lines and boundaries between fantasy, mythology, archetype, animism and theatricality are blurred. Papapetrou has created ambiguity around the space that children occupy in our understanding. There is something eerie and unnerving in the realities evoked by the photography, because childhood has gone somewhere and the consequences are unknown.
The landscape is ever present as a backdrop and it varies from cultivated or manicured to Australian bush, coastal seascape and to European mountainscape. The animals portrayed are as varied as the landscape.
These images are striking, disturbing and memorable. They have a psychic power over the imagination. They draw on the postures and affectations of culture and make them appear humorous and serious in equal measure