Venia Bechrakis is a photographer, painter and video artist. Her work is based on performance art and investigates themes of gender, identity, private and public.
In her self-portrait photographs the artist casts herself as protagonist in imaginary scripts and publicly performs private rituals and traditional female roles-often in exaggerated form. She stages paradox scenes into public spaces which reverse
stereotypical imagery resulting from advertising, films and the visual art tradition putting into question female identity in a humorous manner.
At once the author of the image and the object of viewing, Bechrakis makes an ironic commentary of certain consumer and domestic patterns of behavior.She uses photography to construct imaginary, at times surrealist, environments that make reference to everyday life. Images that at first sight appear to be documenting a mundane reality, centering on the figure of a woman – the artist herself – challenge conventional restrictions and social taboos.Venia Bechrakis investigates throughout her work gender and identity issues, the relationship between the public and the private, real and fictitious space.
Shifting between the art of performance, photography , the composition of classical painting and a cinematic representation of reality, Venia Bechrakis creates pictures that merge theatrical performances with a documentarian view, exploring the fine line between autobiography and fiction.
Born in Athens, Greece. Venia Bechrakis studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts. She won the Onassis Foundation Scholarship in 2000 and continued her studies at the New York University (MFA-Master in Fine Arts) in photography and video
art. She received the Gerondelis Foundation Grand in 2001 and the Jack Goodman Award for Art & Technology, in 2002.
Venia Bechrakis has presented her work in solo exhibitions in Greece and abroad: “La Grece In & Out: Autoportraits”, Galerie Basia Embiricos, Paris (2010), “Restricted Area”, Zoumboulakis Galleries, Athens (2010), ''Strange Weathers'', Melenia Art Gallery, Bucharest, Romania (2009), ''Urban Dwellings”, Zina Athanassiadou Gallery, Thessaloniki, Greece (2008), “Within-Without'', Zoumboulakis Galleries, Athens, Greece (2006), Real Art Ways, Connecticut, USA, granted by the National Endowment for the Arts (2003).
She has exhibited internationally in major international group shows, such as: "Open 15, Venice-Lido (2012), “Autoportraits Fictions”, Espace des Femmes, Paris (2011), “OpenXII” Lido Venice (2009), ''Face to Faces'', 2nd Biennial of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Thessaloniki, Greece (2009), ''Art Athina 2009'', Zina Athanasiadou Gallery & Gallery Basia Embiricos, Athens, Greece, “Art Photo Expo Miami”, Zone D and Galerie Basia Embiricos, Miami Art Basel, Miami, USA (2008), “Material Links”, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Shanghai, China (2008), “The Water”, Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Thessaloniki, Greece (2008), “Heterotopias” (Public Screen, curated by Syrago Tsiara), 1st Biennial of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece (2007), “The Chronicle of the Absurd“,(curated by Bia Papadopoulou), Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Thessaloniki, Greece (2007), ‘Bodyconnections’, La Maison de la Photographie, Tachkent, Uzbekistan (2007), a.o.
Venia Bechrakis lives and works in New York and Athens.