In 1978 Jerry Henderson, American entrepreneur and director of Avon cosmetics commissioned his Las Vegas “underground home” in response to his increased paranoia concerning the cold war. The bunker was built by the Swayze brothers who’s company “Underground World Homes” offered luxurious solutions to the scared and wealthy. The home boasted plasticised trees and boulders, utopian murals of luscious and fruitful landscapes and a grass patterned carpet. While Henderson’s bunker is viewed as an extreme, it shares the aspirations of most homes: security and control from an unpredictable environment. Opulent houses become processing centers for fantasy as decorative tendencies act as the propaganda for what life one believes they should be living.
Ariana Papademetropoulos’ new body of work, highlights and explores the way the natural becomes mediated and conceptualized through domestication, locating interiority as a key in understanding the process in which mythologies and histories are created and perpetuated. Throughout the gallery found furniture which looks to be sinking into the floor, is staged in front of large paintings where strange figures emerge from decorative interiors. The paintings are both revelatory and interruptive, as more seems to be revealed the less becomes clear. A transformation is occurring but the end result is not revealed.
A film in the lower gallery showcases the artist floating in a bed in the ocean, the comfort of the bed is counteracted by its displacement and the abyss which lies below, the boundaries of the domestic become tested in its new landscape. In the entry, an antique buffet decorated with columns and wood carvings shows a hunting scene where a dove has just been shot from the sky. As the furniture sinks into the floor, the program of the carving shifts, a scene of conquest becomes ambiguous as both hunter and hunted come to share the same fate.
Athens is a city of resuscitation, a place where what has been buried has been dug out and made to exist alongside the living. The ghost of a previous city haunts the newly erected reminding it of its impermanence. Just Like Arcadia is a utopia that is aware of its placeless nature, somewhere that has resided in between for so long it may not have a destination at all.
Ariana Papademetropoulos (b. 1990 Pasadena, CA) lives and works in Los Angeles, California, and is of Greek and Argentinean descent. Papademetropoulos completed her BFA at California Institute of the Arts in 2012 and also studied at the Universität der Künste in Berlin.
Just like Arcadia is Ariana Papademetropoulos first solo show with The Breeder in Athens.
– Alix Vernet