Yelena Popova

Particulate Matter, 2012

HD video colour sound

Dimensions Variable


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Artwork
Description

8min, HD, colour, sound, Edition of 3

Yelena Popova’s work represents a balancing act between materiality, images, abstraction and manifestation. She also has a desire to explore the continuing development of Industrialism and the landscape of Capitalism, often using of documentaries to substantiate these explorations.

Particulate Matter, refers to the imperceptible particles in the air, often produced by industrial processes like mining, that are liable to cause respiratory complications and create the opalescent smog representative of the industrial cityscape. Produced during a residency in Beijing, the work takes the city’s booming economy and examines the similarities and effects of this commercial development in relation to the historic development of a city on an individual. Popova reflects on subjects giving her the ability to relate to singularities over multiplicities. The film comments upon the generalisation of the individual enacted by a globalisation, which increasingly distances itself from personal welfare and focuses upon generic collectivism. This appears to necessitate a hegemonic ordering of society, where the person becomes a part of a repetitious structure and loses a true sense of individuation.

The aesthetic of the documentary is reminiscent of Soviet Montage and Constructivism. The repetitious visual patterns are an exploration of materiality used to reinforce the documentary narrative. This helps create a separate narrative involving mass production resulting from the paradigmatic interrelationship of societal growth and consumer capitalism. The work also acts as a complementary composition to the artists more abstract paintings. In this way the documentary helps to shape the greater meaning of her works.

About
the artist

Yelena Popova (b. 1978, Urals, Russia) lives and works in Nottingham. She studied at Moscow Art Theatre School and Byam Shaw at Central St Martins before graduating from MA Painting at the Royal College of Art in July 2011.

Popova is an artist who works across a wide range of media, including painting, video and installation. Reflecting her upbringing in the Urals, she is influenced by the tenets of Russian Constructivism, while often seeking to discuss the constant development of industrialism and the landscape of contemporary Capitalism. There is an important stress placed upon the theme of balance within her work, whether this is political, aesthetic or metaphysical.

Popova’s work consists of contrasts between latent and manifest meanings, shape and content, form and material. Her documentary films, such as Particulate Matter, provide a relatively concrete exploration of the universal relationship between Capitalism and Industrialisation, across cultural intersections. The documentary’s aesthetic is evocative of Russian Constructivism and Soviet Montage.

Complementing the more supraliminal documentaries, her linen panels consist of ethereal forms, reminiscent of the opalescent smog so often spawned by the industrialised city. They are an abstraction of the tangible, while maintaining a robust tactility; the images are suggestive of Turner, however her practice more accurately aligns with tenets of Russian Modernism. There is an intrinsic sense of balance encapsulated in the fluid contours, cut short by the restrictive rectangular canvas, and then recaptured by round supplementary satellite panels. This produces a symbolic contrast between the eternity of the circle and the finitude of the rectangle. Materiality is also explored rigorously; the use of linen, overlaid with pale washes, creates tactility, while the aqueous ethereality of the washes seems virtually nonexistent.

Yelena Popova primarily focuses upon matter and materiality, using a wide variety of media to open up discourses to her audience. She creates discussions based upon the systematic relationship between objects in Industrial and Capitalist cultures, which is reinforced by the powerful contrasts present in her work and the equilibrium they manage to maintain.


Popova’s work consists of contrasts between latent and manifest meanings, shape and content, form and material. Her documentary films, such as Particulate Matter, provide a relatively concrete exploration of the universal relationship between Capitalism and Industrialisation, across cultural intersections. The documentary’s aesthetic is evocative of Russian Constructivism and Soviet Montage.

Yelena Popova primarily focuses upon matter and materiality, using a wide variety of media to open up discourses to her audience. She creates discussions based upon the systematic relationship between objects in Industrial and Capitalist cultures, which is reinforced by the powerful contrasts present in her work and the equilibrium they manage to maintain.


Yelena Popova
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

December 8th, 2014 until
February 25th, 2015
Curated by Kirsty Ogg