Sleeping girl (2019)

Sleeping Girl, by Xenia Papadopoulou

Sleeping girl (2019). Six black & white analogue photographs in medium format.

The work ‘Sleeping girl’ is a project concerning the human existential search and our innate need for afterlife evidence. At the same time, it explores the notion of the cemetery as a ‘garden’, a principle established already in the 19th century cemetery architecture.

Based on personal encounters with death and my view of the necropolis as a place for self-reflection from an early age, I pursued an exploration using a single tool; an analogue camera as the capturing device of the unseen. By choosing an analogue camera the photographer is able to trap moments that stay imprisoned and hidden – at least for some time – in the camera chamber. The idea of holding a recording machine which could capture things I could not perceive with my own senses was very exciting and haunting for me, at the same time.

The six photographs are all double exposures, which means that the film was exposed twice. Using this method, I was able to integrate the sculptural element with the flora ornaments of the garden. What we observe in all six photographs is the sculpture of the Sleeping girl integrated with the jasmine growing just across from the sculpture. By double exposing the film I also aimed at creating a palimpsest of visual information and textures. Foreground and background, shallow and distant areas are interchangeable on the same plane of the afterlife’s time and space.

The necropolis and the sculpture: The pictured sculpture is the ‘Sleeping girl’ by sculptor Ioannis Vitsaris (1844 – 1892), located at the first cemetery of Athens. The sculpture follows the iconography of the ‘Sleeping girl’ and is one of the four sculptures of this type in the specific cemetery.

Other works: Désastre, Météorites, Moloch (2018-2020)