Yelena Popova

Yelena Popova (*1978 in Ozersk, UdSSR, lebt und arbeitet in Nottingham) ist Absolventin der Moskower Art Theater School (2000), des Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (2007) und des Royal College of Art in London (2011), wo sie einen Master in Malerei machte. Sie profitierte von zahlreichen Stipendien und Preisen. Unter anderem vom The Outset Prize, London (2011), The Arts Council Grant (2014) und dem Fellowship of the Girton College (2016-2017). Zahlreiche bedeutende Sammlungen verfügen über Werke von Popova. Zu nennen sind vor allem das Westfälische Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kultur in Münster sowie die Sammlungen Zabludowicz und Saatchi in London.

In Yelena Popovas Werk geht es stets um gesellschaftlich-politische Inhalte, die sie nach ausführlicher Recherche der geschichtlichen Hintergründe und Kontexte in künstlerische Formen gießt. Entsprechend arbeitet sie mit ganz verschiedenen Medien. Während manche Themen in Videofilmen behandelt werden, schafft sie für andere Inhalte Computerperformances, Skulpturen, Installationen, Zeichnungen oder – seit einigen Jahren – auch Wandteppiche. Zu allen Werkgruppen entstehen auch Gemälde, die ihren ganz eigenen, jeweiligen Zusammenhang mit den übergeordneten Themen haben, obwohl es – wie es beim ersten Anschein aussieht – abstrakte, formal mit der russischen Moderne und dem Konstruktivismus zusammenhängende Werke sind (man denkt bei diesen Leinwänden an Lubow Popova oder Natalia Gontscharowa).

Die Entscheidung für oder gegen eine bestimmte Technik hängt von den jeweiligen Inhalten ab. Begonnen hat Popova mit einem Duo zweier künstlerisch-dokumentarischer Videoarbeiten, die sich um ihre ursprüngliche Heimatstadt Ozersk, in der ehemaligen UdSSR, und deren Status als geheimer Forschungsstätte für Atomenergie drehten. In anderen Videoarbeiten behandelte sie die Themen „Kohlebergbau“ oder „Zeit“. Das Thema „Geld“ und seine Kreisläufe und Funktionen wurden in einer aufwendigen Computerperformance und einem Wandteppich gespiegelt, die Atomenergie in einer zweiten Werkgruppe zu diesem Thema, mit einer großen Installation und wiederum Wandteppichen.

Ein Leitfaden für diese Untersuchungen und ihre Erzeugnisse ist, dass es weniger ein dokumentarischer Ansatz ist, den Popova verfolgt, als vielmehr einer bei dem sie ästhetisch überzeugende Formen sucht, um uns mit den Themen zu konfrontieren und zu Überlegungen anzuregen.

Yelena Popova (*1978 in Ozersk, USSR, lives and works in Nottingham) is a graduate of the Moscow Art Theater School (2000), Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (2007) and the Royal College of Art in London (2011), where she completed a master’s degree in painting. She benefited from numerous scholarships and awards. Among them, The Outset Prize, London (2011), The Arts Council Grant (2014) and the Fellowship of the Girton College (2016-2017). Numerous important collections hold works by Popova. Most notably, the Westphalian State Museum of Art and Culture in Münster and the Zabludowicz and Saatchi Collections in London.

Yelena Popova’s work is always concerned with socio-political content, which she casts into artistic form after extensive research into the historical background and contexts. Accordingly, she works with very different media. While some topics are dealt with in video films, she also creates computer performances, sculptures, installations, drawings or – since a few years – tapestries for other contents. For all groups of works, she also does paintings, which have their own particular connection to the overarching themes, although – as it seems at first glance – they are abstract works formally related to Russian Modernism and Constructivism (one can think of Lubov Popova or Natalia Goncharova when seeing these canvases).

The decision for or against a particular technique depends on the respective content. Popova began with a duo of two art-documentary video works that revolved around her original hometown of Ozersk, in the former USSR, and its status as a secret nuclear energy research site. In other video works, she dealt with the themes of “coal mining” or “time.” The theme of “money” and its circuits and functions were mirrored in an elaborate computer performance and tapestry, and atomic energy in a second group of works on this theme, with a large installation and again tapestries. A guiding principle of these investigations and their products is that it is not so much a documentary approach that Popova takes as one in which she seeks aesthetically compelling forms to confront us with the subjects and stimulate reflection.

Yelena Popova’s work is always concerned with socio-political content, which she casts into artistic form after extensive research into the historical background and contexts. Accordingly, she works with very different media. While some topics are dealt with in video films, she creates computer performances, sculptures, installations, drawings or – since a few years – tapestries for other contents. For all groups of works, she also creates paintings that have their own particular connection to the overarching themes, although – as it seems at first glance – they are abstract works formally related to Russian Modernism and Constructivism (one thinks of Lubov Popova or Natalia Goncharova when thinking of these canvases).

The decision to use a particular technique or not depends on the content. Popova began with a duo of two artistic-documentary video works that revolved around her original hometown of Ozersk, in the former USSR, and its status as a secret nuclear energy research site. In other video works, she dealt with the themes of “coal mining” or “time.” The theme of “money” and its circuits and functions were mirrored in an elaborate computer performance and tapestry, and atomic energy in a second group of works on this theme, with a large installation and again tapestries.

A guiding principle of these investigations and their products is that it is not so much a documentary approach that Popova takes, but one in which she seeks aesthetically compelling forms to confront us with the issues and provoke reflection.

Yelena Popova

This Certifies That
November 18, 2017 – February 24, 2018