Australian Video Art Archive

Penelope Trotter



Over the past thirteen years Penelope Trotter has made performance art pieces that are usually done in public spaces that concentrate on the condition of the female in relation to contemporary sociology and politics. Her art often involves disguise but also the creation of installations, video, photographic and drawing work. Whilst carrying out her performances she sees herself as a bit of a gonzo journalist, ethnographer, or a contemporary “flaneur,” because in taking on disguises in public places she becomes like a sociologist or social “spy.” In the presentation of her work she also explores the psychological states that each performance induces. In this way her performances become like method acting because she endeavours to explore what it is like to exist within somebody else’s skin.

Key issues being explored in her most recent works are Surrealist fantasy fulfillment and its relation to Marxist Feminism and deconstructive Third Wave Feminism. A major part of the fantasy fulfillment involved in her current research concerns itself with the concept of withheld knowledge created by historical phantoms, exploration of the level of deception that is required to reclaim this knowledge, and an overriding desire to know more about and effectively “become” the Other.

In 2005 Penelope was awarded a Monash Graduate Scholarship to complete her PHD at Monash University titled Fantasy Fulfillment and Pressing Politics: Ethical Communication as Performance. She also works as a lecturer in Fine Art Theory at Monash University and The Australian Catholic University. Past performances have been included as part of 'The Bridge: Construction in Process' in 1998, and 'The Melbourne International Biennial' in 1999. Penelope is represented in Europe by Artegiro Fine Art Representation.