Yelena Popova

Untitled with two circles, 2014

Uncategorized

Dimensions Variable


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Artwork
Description

mixed media on Linen, 106x86cm + 2 circles d20cm

At the heart of Yelena Popova’s paintings lies an alchemic amalgam of diaphanous and material elements. Popova’s works are abstract oneiric landscapes, where paint and canvas concur to unfurl misty and faded visions into lucid geometric compositions. Stylistically and in spirit, the Russian-born artist’s practice acknowledges the legacy of Russian Constructivism and Minimalism. Indeed, for her painting is a deeply political act that manifests itself in non-political subjects.

The seemingly diluted hues caress the canvas, articulating elegant shapes and traces onto the naked  coarse fabric. Often the artwork escapes the confines of the framework and produces circular satellites, or bends the picture-frame thus trespassing into the three-dimensional world. At times rigidly symmetrical, at times gracefully loose, the composition of ovular elements accompanies the main piece by being clearly distinguished and yet complementary.

This characteristic is distinctive of the artist’s oeuvre: her installations are composed of multiple elements that are displayed close to each other at first and then dispersed more and more in the space to obtain a carefully achieved balance. On the other hand, her video-pieces allude to a world threatened by Cold War politics and the danger of annihilation. Under this light, the delicate lines and almost transparent paint swirls, take on a completely different meaning, that of being traces of history, recorded on canvas.

Popova’s paintings result from the convergence of elements that are almost invisible, almost immaterial, until they come into existence by gently touching her canvases: by leaving a trace behind, they become meditations on the ineluctability of the passing of time.

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