Painting - Shortlisted 2014
Yelena uses painting installation as the main medium to negotiate the physical, spatial and socio-economical articulations of painting today. Her paintings are often installed at unusual angles, leaning against each other, using sculptural pops and bits of furniture to create a clash between the immateriality of their images and the gravity of the paintings as objects. Her recent body of work ‘The Portrait Gallery’ reflected on the notion of display, particularly the way portraits are collected and presented in private and stately collections as manifestations of wealth and power. The paintings themselves uphold a Constructivist sensibility but reveal curvy feminine gestures from the digital era, where the disembodiment of screen-based images and particular touch-screen gestures is echoed in her painterly technique. The images are not quite there; they float between physical absence and digital presence highlighting the question of intangibility and invisibility, themes central to Yelena’s work.
Since graduating from RCA in 2011 Yelena was selected for ‘Bloomberg New Contemporaries’ (2011) and ‘New Sensations’ (2011). In response to Yelena’s work at Saatchi Gallery’s exhibition ‘Gaiety is the Most Outstanding Feature of the Soviet Union’ Time Out magazine wrote: ‘Balancing historical reference and the future of picture making, Yelena Popova is one of the best young painters working in Britain right now’. Yelena’s works are part of RCA Collection, Saatchi Collection, Zabludowicz Collection and the Nottingham Castle Permanent Collection.