Yelena Popova

  • Date:
    21 February–14 April 2013

Yelena Popova & Grandad Hill

Opening 21 February, 6pm. All welcome.

NN’s second show at their new home at Number Nine, Guildhall Road, Northampton presents two of Yelena Popova’s recent projects: her painting installation The Portrait Gallery and the video Particulate Matter. Born in the Urals, Popova is based in Nottingham, where she has lived for the past 5 years. Both Popova’s Russian background and her East Midland’s contexts inform this body of work, which is steeped in references to Art history and informed by her interest in progress, industrial history and the changing face of Capitalism today.

Grandad Hill, a local amateur artist and ex-miner, features in Popova’s video Particulate Matter. His portrait intercuts with footage of Chinese coal manufacturers and urban cityscapes, filmed during Popova’s residency in China. The figures disappearing into the milky white haze of Beijing echo the themes within Popova’s paintings. Surrounding the film in the gallery are paintings by Grandad Hill depicting local landscape: the collieries, dramatic clouded skies, mining villages and street scenes, painted from memory.  In the video Popova refers to Turner, arguably the British Landscape painter of the industrial era, who first portrayed the loss of linear perspective and the absence of the horizon line. 

Both the video Particulate Matter in the first gallery and The Portrait Gallery painting installation in the second gallery address the history of Capitalism. Popova’s vanishing portraits, painted on linen with layers of pale wash, act as diagrams, stripped of their former glory, status and wealth. Popova reflects on history of Capitalism through the history of portraiture, boldly applying the visual sensibility of Russian Constructivists to Old Masters.  Leaning against each other and the gilded remnants of the gallery (picture frames and chairs), her abstracted portraits strive to evoke the portrait collection of stately houses or national museums. Their installation continues Popova’s exploration of materiality, display and hierarchies.

Within the gallery window is a wall for postcard-sized landscapes by Northampton’s local artists and enthusiasts. If you would like to contribute a postcard-sized work for the display you can do so by handing it to the NN front desk, with your name and address labelled on the back. It could be a painting, drawing, photograph, postcard, clipping, or a collage – anything that depicts Northamptonshire’s landscape, from rural to industrial, historic or futuristic. The wall’s collection will grow during the exhibition; we hope to discover a Northampton-based Grandad Hill – a local symbol of personal history and memory.

A host of events will accompany the exhibition, including a talk by the artist on 28 February, a screening of The Invisible Man on 21 March and a creative workshop for families during the Easter Holidays.


Artist talk: Yelena Popova
28 February 2013, 2pm
Venue: The University of Northampton, Avenue Campus, Northampton NN1 6JD

Hear more about Yelena Popova’s practice and see films by the artist with a Q and A session.

Crit Group
19 March 2013, approximately 8pm
Meeting point: Foyer of Venue: The University of Northampton, Avenue Campus, Northampton NN2 6JD

NN hosts the Crit Group for artists at all stages of their career to come together to discuss their work in progress, run by Kate Harrison & Peter Slack. This month the Group are attending the Articulation talk and meeting in the foyer afterwards to go on to a nearby venue. See below for information on how to book your place for the Articulation talk.

Film screening: The Invisible Man (1933)
21 March 2013, 7pm
Venue: NN, Number Nine Guildhall Road, Northampton NN1 1DP

Watch The Invisible Man amongst Yelena Popova’s disappearing portraits.

Pecha Kucha Night
4 April 2013, 7pm
Venue: MK Gallery, 900 Midsummer Blvd, Milton Keynes MK9 3QA

20 slides, 20 seconds per slide, come and show everyone what you do! Whether you are an artist, writer, designer, musician, collector, curator, fanatic, whatever you are come and share it in 20 slides. We are collaborating with MK Gallery to host PKNs so come along and find out more about what people are doing or book in and join in presenting your practices and passions. The next PKN will be back at NN.
To book in email [email protected] with PKN in the subject of your email.

Easter Holiday Family Workshop with Kezia Merrick
5 April 2013, 2pm
Venue: NN, Number Nine Guildhall Road, Northampton NN1 1DP

Join artist Kezia Merrick for an alternative way to explore the exhibition through making.
All children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Price £1 per child.

NN collaborates with The University of Northampton to present a series of talks, the Articulation series.
The talks are free to students of The University of Northampton, £4 / £2.50 concessions to everyone else but booking is essential. Please contact [email protected] for more details and to book a place.

Articulation talk: Richard Wilson
12 March 2013, 6:30pm
Venue: The University of Northampton, Avenue Campus, Northampton NN2 6JD

“My fascination with architectural and perceived space has resulted in a 30+ year body of work where our comprehension of space is questioned and subverted. These interventions are characterized by my concerns with size and structural daring.”

Articulation talk: Rachel Anderson, Artangel
19 March 2013, 6:30pm
Venue: The University of Northampton, Avenue Campus, Northampton NN2 6JD

For over two decades Artangel has commissioned some of the most acclaimed, contentious and talked about public works of recent times on a range of different sites and in a wide variety of media and forms.

Articulation talk: Alec Finlay
30 April 2013, 6:30pm
Venue: The University of Northampton, Avenue Campus, Northampton NN2 6JD

In this informal talk, Alec will represent a range of his own projects including Skying, The road north (a journey through the Highlands) and Swarm, the world economy translated through bees and hives.

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