The Monash Gallery of Art is showing a new project by the Melbourne photographer Polixani Papapetrou. Eden is a series of ten intensely coloured photographs of young teenage girls posed in complex floral arrangements. The pictures are handsomely made and impress the eye largely because the pictorial space is flat and the colour packed tight in the all-over compositions.
The best of the series have models who can project some of the tentativeness of their age. They are embedded in gorgeousness, but somewhat weighed down by it. The images “focus on Papapetrou’s explorations of the transitional stages of life, particularly the loss (and persistence) of childhood.”
The art critic Robert Nelson (the photographer’s husband) writes …
A beautiful young female figure is immersed in a garden of flowers, a vertical garden that doesn’t recede into deep space but presses itself onto the surface of the photograph. The model has flowers behind her, in front of her, upon her, all around her. Her form is rhapsodized by stitches of blooms and leaves, engulfed by nature but not contained by the three levels of representation that compress figure and ground. Robert Nelson, 2016
Eden is sympathetically matched with a twin exhibition by Dutch photographers Hendrik Kerstens and Erwin Olaf, and another large one by Martin Parr. It’s a good time to go to Monash but they all close on Sunday December 4.