CANCELLED – Yelena Popova: The Scholar Stones Project at The Holden Gallery

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
Yelena Popova: The Scholar Stones Project exhibition at The Holden Gallery
Yelena Popova, Keepsafe (detail), 2019

Yelena Popova, The Scholar Stones Project at The Holden Gallery, Manchester, 7 February–27 March 2020, free entry - Visit now

Artist Yelena Popova grew up in the closed city of Ozyorsk in Russia – the birthplace of the Soviet nuclear weapons programme and one of the largest producers of weapons-grade plutonium for the USSR during the Cold War. In 1957, an explosion at its Mayak plant released more radioactive contamination than Chernobyl and the region is reported to be one of the most polluted places on Earth today.

Though Popova moved to the UK in 2011, her practice remains deeply influenced by the story of her hometown and reflects an ongoing fascination with nuclear history more broadly. Her upcoming solo exhibition – ‘The Scholar Stones Project’ at The Holden Gallery in Manchester – will feature new work developed in response to a series of visits she made to decommissioned nuclear sites around Britain over the course of 2019, including first-generation Magnox reactors that currently cannot be dismantled and will have to remain on the coastline until at least the end of the century.

A number of the paintings in the show include pigments created from soil that Popova gathered during her research and will be displayed alongside stones she collected at each location, re-presented in this new context as objects of contemplation in the same manner as the celebrated scholar stones of Tang dynasty China (618-907 AD). The combined effect will invite viewers to reflect upon the impact of industrialism, capitalism and the passage of time on the landscape, and lend visibility to the issue of nuclear activity.

Popova was shortlisted for the Max Mara Art Prize for Women in 2015 and included in Thames and Hudson’s ‘100 Painters for Tomorrow’. Her style is heavily influenced by Russian Constructivism and presents an entrancing world of colour and form in addition to the conceptual themes out of which her work is born. Following Sof’ya Shpurova: Low Human Activity, The Scholar Stones Project represents the second consecutive exhibition at The Holden Gallery to highlight the work of an exciting Russian female painter. We’re excited to see what will come next.

Yelena Popova, The Scholar Stones Project at The Holden Gallery, Manchester

7 February–27 March 2020
Free entry

Dates and Times

  • 6 February 2020 5:30 pm
  • Always double check dates and times with the venue before making a special visit

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Image credit: Maryna Makarenko, Sun-Eaters, 2022
Cinema Until 4 December 2022, from £5

HOME Artist Film Weekender 2022

Red Squirrel at Lightwaves
Festivals Until 4 December 2022, FREE

Lightwaves at Salford Quays

Cinema Until 8 December 2022, from £7.95

Aftersun at HOME

Elizabeth Gaskell's House garden. Photo by Chris Tucker
Literature Until 11 December 2022, from £4.50

Book sale at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Cinderella at Hope Mill Theatre
Families Until 11 December 2022, from £27.00

Cinderella at Hope Mill Theatre

Music Until 17 December 2022, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

Melissa Wan
Literature Until 17 December 2022, from £7

Ghosts at the Old Library

Cinema Until 22 December 2022, from £20.00

Backyard Cinema

autumn season at z-arts
Families Until 30 December 2022, FREE

Autumn season at Z-arts

Families Until 30 December 2022, from £6.00

Glow at RHS Garden Bridgewater

Childrens Until 31 December 2022, FREE

Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth

Activity Until 31 December 2022, from £9

Skyliner: Alternative Tours of Manchester