Yelena Popova was born in the USSR (1978), in a secret settlement, an unnamed place dedicated to nuclear research. Following her move to the UK ten years ago she learnt to view facts and events from multiple perspectives.
Popova's pale paintings uphold a Constructivist sensibility but reveal curvy feminine gestures from the digital era. Leaning upon each other, architectural elements and found objects, the paintings seemingly evaporate from the surface to expose the naked texture of their linen fabric. A clash between the materiality of the paintings as objects and the ghostly transparency of their images echo her investigation into the materiality of contamination, secrecy and invisibility. Her video âUnnamed' (2011) tells the dark story of radioactivity from secret Cold War nuclear disasters. âParticulate Matter' (2012), a video produced after her Red Mansion residency in Beijing, reflects on pollution and the production of coal in China and the UK.
For her solo show Popova is developing a new series of paintings, inspired by old masters portraiture and the notion of the Invisible Man (H. G. Wells and Ralph Ellison). By physically changing the lighting conditions of the installation for the duration of the show Popova questions the shifting nature of âtruth' and current conditions for human invisibility.
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