Alexandra Papademetriou is a Greek/English artist born in Athens in 1994 and currently based in Gothenburg, where she recently earned her MFA in Fine Art from HDK-Valand. Through her practice, which includes research, drawing, writing, and curating, she explores difficult and often ignored topics. Through the use of humour, she aims to bring people together and instigate dialogue. Papademetriou’s work has been shown in Greece, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Serbia, and Turkey. Solo exhibitions include Monument to Balkan Brotherhood, DC Krov, Belgrade (2021) and Nothing Left, Athens Museum of Queer Arts, Greece (2016). Notable group exhibitions include Documena / Waiting For The Barbarians, 6th Athens Biennial, Greece (2017) and Reclaim Pride, Museum Of World Culture, Gothenburg, Sweden (2019).
I would not say that such a thing exists necessarily. It could be easy to say that the language in common for young people today is “social media” or “memes” or something of the like – but if anything, these things have highlighted the disparities between social groups. I would say that what is perhaps unique about the young people of today is that we are more aware of the differences between us; we do not assume there is a single common experience or language. This makes us more open to learning about the experiences of others and more willing to put in the work required to forge transnational connections.
Over the years my practice has become much more theoretical and text-based, so my process looks like a lot of reading: a lot of reading, some staring at the wall, and a bunch of frenzied writing as a deadline approaches.
Well, I think almost all of us know the challenges of making art in a socioeconomic system that is hostile to independent creative work. Otherwise I would say that each project is its own challenge – in each project I consider the subject, the message, the location, and the public I want to address, and the challenge is to understand what is the most appropriate medium or language for the situation.
I do consider myself an artist. I see the position of the artist as that of someone who is both in the “periphery” of society and yet often enjoys a high status within it: in this particular position, artists have the freedom to act, among other things, as mediators between people and ideas, and I believe this is what makes artists invaluable.
I’m lucky enough to live in a city with a lot of serene nature, a lot of parks, forests and lakes. When I’m overworked (and, of course, if the weather allows it), I like to take an afternoon off and spend it on a picnic blanket outside, reading a book.
“Innovative” is a tricky word. It seems to be appropriated, almost tainted by corporate marketing and neoliberal entrepreneurs. I think that the true innovators of our day are those who are trying to think of ways to live outside of this ever-present neoliberal system.
In Greece we have a saying: “When humans make plans, God laughs”. I don’t know if I can say that I have a concrete plan for the future, but rather that I just try to keep my eyes open for new things to learn and new opportunities to follow.
I can’t pin it on one single individual but I can say that being a young art student and leafing through tomes dedicated to the history and works of women artists profoundly affected me. Those works resonated with me at a level which nothing else had reached, and I realised that I had been missing something all my life without even knowing.
I think that’s a very interesting question already by its phrasing – are the Balkans really so divorced from the rest of Europe? I cannot speak about the entirety of Serbia, but in my brief time in Belgrade I saw an incredibly lively cultural scene which rivals that of many Northern European cities. There is definitely a drive to make art and there is a sense of sociability in Belgrade which is not common elsewhere. That said, while there is a lot going on, it can be difficult to find unless you know the right people.
My creative process definitely makes me a calmer person – whether I’m working on a painting or a research project, art is the place where I deal with everything that makes me angry, anxious, or depressed, and it’s where I have the space to think of solutions to my problems.