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Despina Zacharopoulou

PhD Work


My practice-based research project is entitled 'SPATIUM MONSTRORUM' which means 'a space of monsters' or/and 'a monstrous space'. My main research question would be: "Is it possible to trace a space of encounter and communication with the monstrous in performance art?"

I use the term ‘monster’ according to its etymology deriving from the latin verb 'monstrare' which means 'to show, to reveal, to exhibit'. My main hypothesis is based on Rosi Braidotti’s argument that the monstrous, by being simultaneously ‘Same and Other,’ seems to function as a mechanism that produces differences, negotiating our relation to alterity and thus existing ‘in an in-between zone’. 

Other areas of interest include: the abject, control exchange, long durational performance. 


  • PhD


    School of Arts & Humanities


    Sculpture, 2015–


    Despina Zacharopoulou is a performance artist focusing on creating experimental situations that negotiate our relation to alterity. Her recent practice and research explore notions such as: the monstrous, the abject and control exchange.  The recipient of an Onassis Foundation scholarship, Despina is a practice-led research student in Fine Art  (Performance) at the Royal College of Art, supervised by performance artist Professor Nigel Rolfe. Her research project is entitled ‘SPATIUM MONSTRORUM’.

    Despina's live performances often involve interaction with the audience as she sees performance as a way of communicating. Based on the etymology of the word ‘monster’, (‘monstrare’ =to show, to exhibit, to reveal) in combination with Rosi Braidotti’s view on the monster as a mechanism that negotiates our relation to alterity, Despina tries through her performances to unveil unknown aspects of both herself and the audience. During this exploration, long duration in performance art is one of the tools that she chooses to work with, as physical exhaustion of the performer (and sometimes the audience) over time seems to have the potential to open up mental spaces that wouldn’t be accessible in any other way.

    Despina Zacharopoulou holds a Master in Fine Arts, a Master in Visual Arts (Costume Design – Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts), a Msc in Architecture and a diploma in Architecture. Apart from her artistic practice, she has been involved in academic teaching: for the academic year 2016-17 she has been leading the School Group ‘De Monstris’ at the Royal College of Art. She was also a subsidiary tutor at the NTUA School of Architecture (Sector III, Painting Department) and at the Athens School of Fine Arts (Sculpture Department, Studio A). She has participated in various exhibitions in Greece, Belgium, Russia and the UK and has received scholarships and awards for her academic achievements. Her biggest large scale performance project so far was a seven week (324hrs) long durational performance entitled "Corner Time" commissioned by the Marina Abramovic Institute and the NEON Organisation (10/03/2016 – 24/04/2016, AS ONE, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece). 

    profile picture credits: Despina Zacharopoulou, 'the most precious non-object', 6hrs long durational performance in the context of ME/YOU YOU/ME long durational performance event, organised & curated by J.V.Dooren & D.Zacharopoulou, selected & supported by the RCA student-led event competition, Gallery Sensei, London, 2016, photo by P.S.Aguilar.

  • Experience

  • Subsidiary Teaching, NTUA School of Architecture, Painting Department, Athens, Greece, 2010-2012; Subsidiary Teaching, Athens School of Fine Arts, Sculpture Department, Athens, Greece, 2012; Leading of the School Group "De Monstris: Performance & the Monstrous", Royal College of Art, London, UK, 2016
  • Exhibitions

  • "Academie alphabet 2012-2013″, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium. Curator: Spank Moons, 2013; "Un-fixed", Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium, 2013; "Masters Exhibition", Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium, 2013; "Van een Bruisende Campus waar de Kunsten Welig Tieren", Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium. Curator: Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven, 2013; "Belgium Performance Festival”, MuHKA and Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium. Organisation: "Belgium is Happening", Coordinator: Prof. T.Crombez, 2013; "Costume at the turn of the century, 1990-2015", A.A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum, Moscow, Russia, 2015; "Drawing Exhibition", Sculpture Department, Royal College of Art, London, UK, October 2015; "Franko B's Birthday Bash", Mori&Stein Gallery, London, UK, January 2016; "OTHER", Courtyard Galleries, Darwin Building, Royal College of Art, London, UK, March 2016; AS ONE, organised by the Marina Abramovic Inst. & NEON, Benaki Museum, Athens, GR, 2016; RCA Fine Art Research Exhibition: MATTER, Royal College of Art, Battersea, London, UK, 2016; BEING-DOING, Asylum, Caroline Gardens Chapel, London, UK, 2016; Performing Identities, Dyson Gallery, RCA, London, UK, 2016; ME/YOU YOU/ME, long durational performance event, Gallery Sensei, London, UK, 2016
  • Awards

  • Erasmus-Socrates Scholarship, École Supérieure d'Architecture Paris Val de Seine, France, 2005; Annual Scholarship for MA studies, Greek State Scholarships Foundation, 2012-2013; Horlait Dapsens prize nominee, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium, 2013; Lon Londau prize, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium, 2013; Onassis Foundation Scholarship for research studies, 2015-2018