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About Yelena Popova

Born: 1978, Urals, Russia

Lives and works in Nottingham, UK


2009-11: MA Painting, RCA London
2007: Postgraduate Diploma, Fine Art, Byam Shaw School of Art
2000: BA (Hons), Set Design and Technology, Moscow Art Theatre School, Russia

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Yelena Popova

Practice: painting / video

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 UK-based Russian artist Yelena Popova reviews and revives her homeland's early twentieth century artistic heritage through paintings inspired by Contructivism (it's perhaps a fitting coincidence that she shares her surname with Lyubov Popova, one of the movement's foremost talents).

She also makes video works which address political and social issues such as a nuclear disaster near her home town in the Urals, or the human economies related to production of coal in the UK and China.

Despite such apparently disparate strands to her practice, (according to Popova, "painting cannot be politicised or it will immediately turn into a propaganda poster") there is more confluence to her work than immediately meets the eye.

Both her painting and video contemplate histories which continue to impact the present (the spectre of Modernist art, for example, insistently haunts the work of many young artists besides Popova) while Soviet Constructivism's close relationship with political agenda and change is also relevant.

In one of Popova's recent series of paintings, the discreet addition of a brass doorknob appears to suggest that her pale re-configurations can function, quite literally, as some kind of portal; an interface between painting, politics, the past and the present.

How well Popova will be able to progress what's essentially an embryonic practice remains to be seen, but her wistful, haunted canvases are certainly catching collectors' attention and right now, she's a name to watch.

Added May 2012

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