by flaunt

Artist Ariana Papademetropoulos talks with Lucille Littot about her new exhibition, now showing at Roseanne's Gallery


What’s the story behind your show?

This fictional character, “She was a Very Nice Girl”, could be a cross between baby Jane Hudson and Norma Desmond.  She is lost and desperate in her immense manor house and she only as her only companion her dolls and dwarf horses. The decor evokes the red blood corridors of One-Eyed Jack’s in Twin Peaks or those of the Chateau Marmont or Beverly Hills Hotel. In the installation that I created and which resembles an absurd procession, the body of this emaciated doll-woman is presented as a sleeping relic evoking those of the Sicilian chapels, or the doll from Fellini’s Casanova on a large red drapery, with circles made of lilies and candles.

Like a bad look-alike of a Marie-Antoinette that one could find on Hollywood Boulevard, she strolls through this luxurious eight-closets where all my obsessions with dolls, swimming pools and the grotesque are satisfied. My work is always tinged with black humor. This piece is about the fear of aging, which is also possibly mine and especially that of Hollywood. And how it brings to all the neuroses, the despair and the madness of fallen angels. I have a lot of empathy for these kind of characters in real life because it shows all the vulnerability of being a woman who was beautiful and coveted and who is no longer.

I went to your performance in Paris in 2015 and it became unclear with what was real and what was fake, tell me your interest in creating this type of environment?

My work borrows elements of the theater, and my characters are always borderline, eccentric, baroque, whether in my painting, performance or installation. I like in the figuration the freedom of being able to exaggerate things and be over the top. But my fascination with cinema in general is also very important in my work.

I just like when things get weird and bring you to another dimension of feeling and emotion. I am a big fan of Lynch, De Palma or Argento. And I can laugh for three hours at the scene in Zulawski’s Possession when Adjani gets hysterical in the subway. But I told you, I have a very dark sense of humor…Champagne!

Who is your muse?

My dog Andy Dandy, rescued from the shelter in Los Angeles. He is the best poser in the world and loves when I dress him up and do photo-shoots. My grandmother was also once my muse- she was very fancy and very crazy. She would put all her Hermès scarfs, YSL costumes, Céline shoes, put a lot of makeup (probably too much) and stand in front off the record player. She would play Gainsbourg, Polnareff or Brel and cry all day long. And as I passed by she would tell me not to go to the kitchen because a leopard was probably waiting for me. Dramatically beautiful.  And You, Ariana Papademetropoulos, because you also look like a giant doll and I love you.

Who would you be reincarnated as?

I would love to be a Big Rubis, an eternal precious stone on the hand of a 70’s old lady of the French Riviera, get stolen and live some wonderful adventures.

“She Was A Very Nice Girl” will be on view by appointment at Roseanne’s Gallery until February 20th.

Interview by Ariana Papademetropoulos

Photography by Abigail Briley Bean