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YELENA POPOVA. Curated by_Lina Džuverovic at Knoll Galerie, Vienna

Category: Exhibition 6. November 2013

The exhibition "Yelena Popova" at Knoll Galleries Vienna – on display till November 23, 2013 – continues an ongoing conversation between the artist Yelena Popova and the curator Lina Džuverović, in search of potency and power in painting today.

We wanted to think about ways in which painting, in its radically expanded form, can become something more than a representation or reflection. If we accept paintings as humble objects, equal to all other objects in the world, can we then imagine revitalizing the practice of painting and the way we view it? Can painting act as a catalyst, a lens via which to view, and act upon, today’s socio-political reality?

Popova’s practice combines moving image and painting installation. The work in the exhibition weaves a complex network of fact, fiction, material, and texture that comments on history, politics, and economics.

Popova’s paintings recall the aesthetics of both Russian Constructivism and Minimalism, and they open up a conversation about the materiality of painting today. Mixing her own paint using both traditional and invented recipes, as well as locally foraged pigments, she creates transparent, ethereal images that recede into the raw fabric of the linen. The painted image is not quite there. Popova’s interest in the digital – along with the disembodiment of screen-based images and, in particular, touchscreen gestures – is echoed in her painterly technique. The way the paintings are installed creates a clash between the immateriality of their imagery and the gravity of paintings as objects.

In her video work, characterized as a cross between artist documentary and experimental film, Popova deploys a specific essayist mode in order to challenge a fixed understanding of history. Delving into personal and collective narratives that focus on particular locations within their cultural context, Popova investigates the themes of progress, industrial and nuclear history, and the perceived polarities of East and West.

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