Lisson Gallery

Yelena Popova talks about her tapestries in 'Matter as Actor'

2 May 2023

In this video, Yelena Popova discusses her suite of tapestries focusing on the prismatic social, political and physical effects of energy, place, elements and monuments. After visiting decommissioned nuclear sites around the UK, including those at Sizewell, Wylfa, Dungeness and Hinkley Point A, she created speculative designs for mausoleums. Popova incorporates the graphite cores of now defunct Magnox reactors, which cannot be moved for almost a century after their use, due to fear of radioactive contamination. Keepsafe I and II (both 2019) caution against historical and future repercussions of fission and fusion, reflecting markers not only for the advent of the Anthropocene – by some standards dated since the first nuclear explosions released excess radiocarbon into our atmosphere – but also for her own biography, having grown up in Ozyorsk, Russia, birthplace of the secretive Soviet nuclear-weapons programme.

'Matter as Actor' continues in London until 24 June 2023

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