THE PORTRAIT GALLERY
Exhibition by Yelena Popova
27 th March - 19 th April
The double panelled installation is a fragment of a larger constellation of works that comprise the latest series in the artist’s oeuvre. The Portrait Gallery (2013) distills the conflicted nature of portraiture – a continuous element in Yelena’s painting. The surfaces are bare, abstract, restrained and stripped of their suggested status, power and wealth often associated with the genre. The works problematise a “push and pull” relationship between collective and individual associations by confronting the viewer with a chronically minimal, reductive, and elusive subject in an assembled situation. Wary of ornamental detail and precise realism that would enable one to identify the persona, each canvas withdraws the power of a trained gaze, and instead suggests the presence of the public. The canvases are propped up with found, constructed, and incidental elements that tie together their alienated status as commodity into a larger whole.
Yelena Popova is interested in restaging the Russian constructivist project in the 21st century in her work. She works with painting as well as video. Her work meditates on the social and economic lives art objects represent and develop within a larger market. Popova was born in the Urals, Russia and currently lives and works in Nottingham. She graduated with an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art in 2011.