Despina Zacharopoulou is a performance artist born in Arcadia, Greece, currently working between London and Athens. Her practice investigates performance as surface and event of parrhēsia, aiming at reconstituting philosophy as embodied practice and method towards a life which is radically other. Her live works borrow their artistic vocabulary from the 1970's performance tradition (e.g. long duration, pain practices, nudity, visceral character, performance-audience encounters etc), to raise contemporary issues on live art research methods.
Coming from an intra-disciplinary academic and professional background, Despina holds: a MSc & a Diploma (Hons) in Architecture (National Technical University of Athens / ERASMUS: École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Paris-Val de Seine), a Master in Fine Arts (Athens Superior School of Fine Arts), and a Master in Visual Arts: Theatre Costume (Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, Greek State Scholarships Foundation scholar). As a postgraduate student at the Royal College of Art in London (Onassis Foundation scholar), Despina completed a practice-led MPhil in Sculpture (Performance) and a practice-led Ph.D. in Philosophy & Fine Art (Performance), supervised by Prof. Johnny Golding (Primary) and Prof. Nigel Rolfe (Second, 2015-2019).
Dr. Zacharopoulou’s artistic practice and research have been globally recognised in the area of performance-philosophy, and have been presented at events of global impact, such as: AS ONE by NEON Οrganization for Culture and Development and the Marina Abramović Institute (Benaki Museum, Athens, 2016); London Frieze (2016, 2017); A Possible Island? by the Marina Abramović Institute & the 1st Bangkok Art Biennale (Bacc, Bangkok, 2018-19); DataLoam (Angewandte Innovation Lab, University of Applied Arts, Vienna, 2019), ME/YOU YOU/ME (Gallery Sensei, London, 2016); Belgium is Happening (Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp & Royal Academy of Fine Art Antwerp, Belgium, 2013), etc.
Publications include articles in: Performance Philosophy Journal, The NY Times, The Nation (Thailand), CNN Greece, Liberal newspaper (Greece), Frankfurter Rundschau, etc. Despina has received numerous prizes and grants for her artistic and academic achievements, including: the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Artist Fellowship by ARTWORKS (2021), the Onassis Foundation Scholarship (2015), the Lon Landau Prize (2013), the Greek State Foundation Scholarship (2012), the Erasmus scholarship (2004), etc.
Despina has been working as a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art since 2016, leading MA Crits, Tutorials and School Groups. She is also the Course Leader of the RCA Contemporary Art Summer School (2018 onwards), and of the RCA Rethinking Contemporary Performance Art Masterclass.