Yelena Popova | Artist in Residence

Yelena Popova | Artist in Residence

Yelena Popova, Her name is Prometheus (detail) 2018, Artist in Residence, SEA Foundation Netherlands
Townlets (floating) test for “Her name is Prometheus” Interactive sculpture, Yelena Popova, 2018

AiR Tilburg

Her name is Prometheus

During her residency at SEA Foundation, Yelena Popova is developing a proposal for a new performance-based work with a synchronized swimming team. Inspired by the myth of Prometheus it incorporates diagrams, texts, initial research, ideas and explorations of our nuclear heritage.

Yelena Popova was born in the USSR, in a closed city where the first Soviet nuclear reactor produced the plutonium needed for Soviet nuclear bombs. Her fascination for nuclear history and materiality informs her interest in the most deadly of man-made materials Plutonium.

Only quite recently Yelena Popova developed a lawn/gallery floor game called Townlets, which combined an image of a plutonium atom with Gorodki the traditional Russian skittles game. Townlets was then taken to a swimming pool to become a floating, sculptural set for a propositional performance.

Popova’s painting installations always approach balance formally and animate space for the performer and viewer to enter in duality. Townlets explores non-competitive, collaborative and performative approaches to sports events and political power games. Following on from her residency at SEA Foundation, Yelena Popova will present the new work at L’étrangère in London (UK) in a solo exhibition.

Yelena Popova

Since the start of her artistic practice, Yelena Popova has created an interdisciplinary oeuvre, both in terms of the materials she uses as well as the topics and way she deconstructs, analyses and reflects on her work.

Yelena Popova (born in USSR) lives and works in Nottingham, where she has a studio at Primary. She graduated with an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Arts (RCA) in London in 2011. Previous to that she graduated in 2000 from the Moscow Art Theatre School (MHAT) with a BA in Set Design. Recent solo exhibitions include This Certifies That, 2017 Philipp von Rosen, Cologne (DE), Elements, 2017 Girton College, University of Cambridge (UK), After Image, 2016 Nottingham Contemporary (UK) and Unsensed, 2015 Hatton Gallery, Newcastle (UK). Her work has been acquired into the Arts Council Collection (UK), RCA Collection (UK), Saatchi Collection (UK), Zabludowicz Collection (UK) and LWL Museum, Münster (DE). During her internationally oriented career, she has been on residencies in different countries, including Moks (Estonia), Girton College Cambridge (UK), The Art House Wakefield (UK), Cultivamos Cultura (Portugal), and CCA Andratx (Spain).


Yelena Popova collaborates with the Belgian artist An Onghena and the Dutch artist Katrein Breukers during the residency. The forthcoming exhibition Routines and Figures in the project space of SEA Foundation will be accompanied by a riso-publication that touches upon the reflections, ideas, and encounters of the artistic practices of these three artists.

Exhibition: Routines & Figures
Event: Film and conversation 
Website Yelena Popova



Public founding by Arts Council England, Sea Foundation, Netherlands
Yelena-Popova-painting (untitled) 2018 distemper on canvas, SEA Foundation Tilburg
Yelena Popova Portret 2018 Artist in Residence at SEA Foundation, Tilburg, Netherlands
Yelena Popova Diagram for Townlets Woodblock print