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

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