Selected works by Yelena Popova

Yelena Popova
Balance Of Probabilities

2011

Mixed media on linen, wooden domestic objects, brass doorknob

Dimensions variable
With their transparent, softened geometric forms, Yelena Popova’s paintings recall the graphics and aesthetics of both Russian Constructivism and Minimalism, and open up conversations about the materiality of painting today.

Popova’s practice encompasses painting, video and installation, and all her work is tied together by an interest in exploring the concept of balance, whether in politics, representation, or in our relationship with machines.

“I’m not interested in making single objects, but in creating a complex network of facts, fictions, emotions, gestures, materials and images, which could relate to the world outside it,” the artist explains.
For a recent project she made paintings and video inspired by the metaphor of the discus thrower; the elliptical curves and repeated, rhythmic shapes on her linen canvases articulate the kind of balance, external and internal, expressed through fixed rotation. Popova’s films, which deal with overt imbalances such as Cold War topics and radioactivity, seem the perfect counterpoint to her 2D work, the flipside of the same theme.

Balance of Probability is a multi-part installation of paintings on linen that plays with similar ideas. The canvases in a range of sizes combine graphic pattern and unpredictable shapes with a delicacy of touch and thin gradients of pale colour that sometimes even show the grain of their linen surfaces. Precariously arranged on each other or held in place with makeshift pallet supports and even a doorknob, the paintings convey a sense both of dangerous asymmetry and of harmonious interconnectedness.

Lupe Nùñez-Fernández
Yelena Popova
Balance Of Probabilities (detail)

2011

Mixed media on linen, wooden domestic objects, brass doorknob

170 x 130 cm
Yelena Popova
Balance Of Probabilities (detail)

2011

Mixed media on linen, wooden domestic objects, brass doorknob

127 x 102 x 3 cm
Yelena Popova
Balance Of Probabilities (detail)

2011

Mixed media on linen, wooden domestic objects, brass doorknob

40.5 x 30.5 x 2 cm
Yelena Popova
Balance Of Probabilities (detail)

2011

Mixed media on linen, wooden domestic objects, brass doorknob

113 x 68 x 2.5 cm
Yelena Popova
Balance Of Probabilities (detail)

2011

Mixed media on linen, wooden domestic projects, brass doorknob

40.5 x 30.5 x 2 cm
Yelena Popova
Balance Of Probabilities (detail)

2011

Mixed media on linen, wooden domestic objects, brass doorknob

140 x 94 x 3 cm
Yelena Popova
Balance Of Probabilities (detail)

2011

Mixed media on linen, wooden domestic objects, brass doorknob

40.5 x 30.5 x 2 cm
Yelena Popova
Overblown Hero

2011

Mixed media on linen

170 x 110 cm
Yelena Popova
Untitled

2011

Mixed media on linen

75 x 55 cm
Yelena Popova
Untitled

2011

Mixed media on linen

75 x 55 cm
Yelena Popova
Untitled

2011

Mixed media on linen

40 x 30 cm
Yelena Popova
Untitled

2011

Mixed media on linen

110 x 70 cm
Yelena Popova
Untitled

2011

Mixed media on linen

150 x 90 cm
Yelena Popova
Untitled (Cool Flames)

2011

Mixed media on linen

120 x 90 cm
Yelena Popova
Untitled

2011

Mixed media on linen

52.5 x 37 cm
Yelena Popova
Untitled (Smile)

2011

Mixed media on linen

58 x 46 cm
Yelena Popova
Untitled (Bats)

2011

Mixed media on linen

55 x 48 cm
Yelena Popova
Untitled (Bat)

2011

Mixed media on linen

52 x 38 cm
Yelena Popova
Untitled (Shiny Frisbee)

2011

Mixed media on linen

120 x 90 cm

Articles

YELENA POPOVA- THE PORTRAIT GALLERY
Review by Henry Little, This is Tomorrow, 2013

Two walls of COLE are painted a dark, institutional bluey-grey. This divides the exhibition space into one complete installation on the left, and a white wall left otherwise blank apart from two reworked and conventionally framed National Portrait Gallery postcards on the right. The coloured wall encloses a series of paintings in varying sizes, which loll drunkenly to one side; rest on empty gilt frames, or support dismembered pieces of gilt furniture. Each painting is left remarkably bare: un-primed linen with ghostly white swirls and small gold dots. The twisting, translucent white forms on each canvas, evocative of faint x-rays, are abstractions of historical portraits. In one you might catch the outline of the sitter and suggestions of garments, in others the figure has all but disappeared apart from occasional familiar forms. On the opposite wall, the two postcards, hung as a pair in very close proximity, have been repainted with rich off-white gloss paint. In each, the original sitter has been almost totally obscured. Ribbons of paint trace drapery folds and create looping ripples which cumulatively obliterate the original image, like a memory fading.

The hang is littered with about half a dozen gilt wooden elements such as a piece of chair leg, or the front section of a chair with a pair of legs, as if a chair habitually employed for marquee weddings has been assimilated piecemeal into the display. Two picture frames have also been included: a rectangular example supports an unframed painting, while an oval number leans against the wall on top of another canvas, with its linen counterpart caught between it and a gilt wedge. The gilt elements have a peculiar effect, in that they speak of both the kind of art canonised in the National Portrait Gallery, as well as those artistically dubious daubs which appear along the northern edge of Hyde Park on a sunny day.

Source: thisistomorrow.info


BRITART'S NEW WAVE:WHO ARE THE SUCCESSORS TO HIRST AND EMIN ?
Friday 22nd July, 2011, by Laura McLean-Ferris, The Independent

London's prestigious art-college degree shows are where the gallery stars of the future are often born. Laura McLean-Ferris tours this summer's final exhibitions in search of the next generation.

Full of tension, ambition, sureness and uncertainty, the annual postgraduate art-degree shows are a chance to take a look at how an upcoming generation of artists sees our fast-changing world. Among the families and fellow students visiting the shows are always a number of collectors (despite his dwindling influence, the name of Charles Saatchi is still whispered in the corridors, with "who has he bought?") and talent-spotting gallerists. There have been better times to be graduating. A conservative, shakily recovering art market, diminished public-sector finances and even the Olympics, which will likely see many gallery shows by well-established names, spell a difficult few years after graduating for many of those leaving college this year.
While the YBAs' collective shadow still does hang over London somewhat, the last decade has consolidated backlashes against such bombast, and produced movements away from those artists and their "bold-as-brass" attitudes, their shocks and sensationalism, towards quieter, conceptual, uncertain forms of art, with focuses on hybrid forms and potted histories rather than the sharpened big statements that came from Hirst et al (one might look to the recent British Art Show, for examples of more tentative, unresolved recent artistic inclinations).

This is in part, perhaps unsurprisingly, an effect of the internet. If you want shocks, if you want to see a disturbing image of a gunshot wound, a pornographic film, or strange animals or machines, they are there at the click of a button. McDonough's rescuing of a news story or Goddard's wresting of outdated BBC News intro themes, as well as Schäfer's cobbling together of old musical instruments, are indicative of the artistic processes of this generation, of rescuing stuff from the overwhelming swamp of images and information and putting it to distinct, different uses. This is the cut-and-paste/Wikipedia generation who have grown up with rapid changes in technology that have developed as they have grown older.

Artists seem to be in the business of pulling images, objects and processes, either saving them from a sea of obsolescence or ensuring that they aren't lost in the flood. Old books and screen-printing techniques are revived, alongside dated Casio keyboards, archive footage and sound, and made to tell us something about our contemporary world. An emphasis on traditional sculptural materials (plaster, porcelain, clay, steel) may be evidence of a desire for physical experience now that so much of our lives are lived online.

Many of the works are loaded with references: Soviet design, Minimalist sculpture and the 1980s being major points of departure for many artists today. While artists often become fascinated with the time that they grew up in, there's still a very tangible sense that many of today's young artists are in the business of cobbling together histories, materials and images in order to understand what has happened in the past. They have grown up in a moment analogous to the huge cultural shifts that happened in the 1950s and 1960s in mass media (which explains the popular fascination with watching people going through these changes in television series such as Mad Men and The Hour).

Will these young artists then, pull things from physical and digital rubble to tell us something more, about where we are today? Perhaps some of them will.

Yelena Popova
RCA
A Russian-born artist, Yelena Popova created an installation of paintings at the RCA. Each painting, featuring thinly painted abstract shapes in pale colour on linen, was installed so that the paintings were propped up on objects at odd angles, making them appear like an interconnected, precarious system. Popova's film, 'Nameless', about a secret town in Russia, is a disturbing exploration of secrecy, nuclear disaster and nationalism, and the relationship between radioactivity and knowledge, in a movie full of frightening and memorable imagery. Popova can be seen in New Contemporaries 2011, which launches in Sheffield later this year.

Source: independent.co.uk


SPECIAL EVENT FEATURE: YELENA POPOVA AT RCA
August 2 2011,by Gill Williamson, Creative Nottingham

It’s a beautifully hot July day in London, the sun is out and the city is buzzing, and strangely, it feels friendlier too! As a tourist, the usual ‘vibe’ I sense in our great capital is that of alienation – but today is different – there’s a ‘friendly’ spring in the London step, maybe thanks to the forthcoming 2012 Olympics.
My mission today, in addition to a ‘must see’ visit to the amazing Miro exhibition at Tate Modern, is to hop over to the Battersea RCA site for the MA Final Exhibition, and to see the work of Russian-born, Nottingham Fine Artist, Yelena Popova.
Reaching the vast campus at Battersea, I am greeted by a number of bizarre and wonderful works of fine art – it’s pretty impressive in its oddness, as a vast and colourful ‘artscape’. Yelena’s main work is in the Turbine building and is well worth the visit, as the culmination of a brilliant project that delves into the secret history of a nuclear village in Russia – the village of her birth – she directs me to the film room, where she has produced a documentary about her investigations.
Scripted, filmed and produced by Yelena, it is a captivating story in which her voice guides the viewer through her emotionally charged ideas and theories on events in the village. As she poses questions she has interrogated through her research journey –questions which may never be resolved, the film closes, and I leave the room wanting to know more. Delivered through her unique perspectives on the human condition, this is a highly intriguing and meaningful production, and a remarkably well written script.
To tell you too much may spoil the surprise of this unique work, which represents a revealing of a secret past. I hope that she has plans to view it in Nottingham, so that I may have the opportunity to see it again – if she does, I would recommend you go and see it.
Her remaining work in the exhibition is beautiful, meaningful and unique. This has been a day of observing life through the unusual observations and vision of the fine artist. Through their eyes, we are offered alternative perspectives on life, with all its curiosity and fascination.

Source: creativenottingham.com


BIG FOR 2010: CONTEMPORARY ART
Left Lion magazine

Yelena Popova has been nominated by Nottingham Contemporary’s Assistant Curator Abi Spinks. Yelena will feature as part of Nottingham Contemporary’s next exhibition ‘Star City’ opening 13th February 2010.
Yelena Popova is an exciting emerging artist, working across painting and performance, to create artworks which explore visions of the future and question utopian ideals. In her two-dimensional works, she experiments with found materials, including second-hand printed textiles, flyers and posters. The abstract compositions she creates play with surface texture, layering marker pen drawings with washes of paint, glitter and gloss.
Russian born Yelena currently divides her time between London and Nottingham, while she studies for an MA in Painting at the prestigious Royal College of Art and maintains a studio in the Oldknows factory building. Alongside several group exhibitions with her MA peers in London in spring 2010, Yelena's work can be seen at the Wallner Gallery, Lakeside Art Centre in September. In the meantime, look out for paintings from the 'Martian Gardener' series in the forthcoming Star City exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary, opening in mid-February.
Yelena Popova has been nominated by Nottingham Contemporary’s Assistant Curator Abi Spinks. Yelena will feature as part of Nottingham Contemporary’s next exhibition ‘Star City’ opening 13th February 2010.
Yelena Popova is an exciting emerging artist, working across painting and performance, to create artworks which explore visions of the future and question utopian ideals. In her two-dimensional works, she experiments with found materials, including second-hand printed textiles, flyers and posters. The abstract compositions she creates play with surface texture, layering marker pen drawings with washes of paint, glitter and gloss.
Russian born Yelena currently divides her time between London and Nottingham, while she studies for an MA in Painting at the prestigious Royal College of Art and maintains a studio in the Oldknows factory building. Alongside several group exhibitions with her MA peers in London in spring 2010, Yelena's work can be seen at the Wallner Gallery, Lakeside Art Centre in September. In the meantime, look out for paintings from the 'Martian Gardener' series in the forthcoming Star City exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary, opening in mid-February.
Questions for Yelena …
What inspires/drives you?
I enjoy old objects and other artists work and usually get flashes of inspiration at the flea markets or at the art galleries, or just looking at pictures in the books, magazines or on the web. But the driving force is more important concept for me, than inspiration. Though I think about it not as a force, but rather as a muse: one might not have full control over one's driving forces, but one can negotiate and have a relationship with one's muses. So here are few muses of my pantheon: mrs boredom, comrade nostalgia, miss curiosity, lady failure .... also thrill of the new ideas, the notion of change itself, the progress, the time.
Tell us what you're doing in 2010?
I'm really looking forward to the Star City show at Nottingham Contemporary: my paintings from Martian Gardener series will take part in Goshka Macuga's Cabinet installation and the whole range of talks and events around this show promised to be very interesting.
I'll be writing my MA dissertation at the RCA, which might help to sum up different areas of my practice and formulate new ideas and the new work. I'm co-curating the group show of RCA students which explores boundaries of time. The show opens at Blyth Gallery at the Imperial College in April (27th) and in July it will travel to Moscow Young Artist Biennale. Our RCA Work in Progress show opens in April as well (23rd).
There are few projects with Nottingham based artists which are already lined up: the Cruiser group shows (at Deda and Oldknows Actual Wall space) with new zine publications and the performative tram cruise across the town. Also the collaborative show Boxing Yelena with Simon Raven at his Box Gallery - will be 'very boxy'.
Then in September just as the British Art Show hits the town I'll have my solo show at Wallner Gallery, Lakeside. So it's already lots to do and I hope to get involved in more exiting projects in 2010!

Source: leftlion.co.uk