OUTPOST and Norfolk & Norwich Festival Co-Commission 2012
OUTPOST and Norfolk and Norwich Festival are proud to present Twofold, their first co-commission exhibition. Produced as part of the visual arts programme for the Norwich and Norfolk Festival 2012, this ambitious offsite project brings together two international artists, Gregor Hylla and Yelena Popova, who have been invited to produce new work for the distinctive site of Westlegate House in Norwich city centre.
Hylla’s practice is primarily concerned with colour. It forms a fundamental role in creating complex and dynamic paintings, where shapes collide and intersect one another, akin to modernist geometric painting. Through Hylla’s considered placement of colour, individual painted components are given an energy and sense of potential movement. The works retain an embodiment of precision and clarity, translated into his large-scale wall paintings these forms create a new and unique space beyond that of the physical architecture they inhabit. Painting directly onto canvas or wall surfaces evokes a sense of intensity and vividness in his work, yet on close inspection the intimacy of the artists’ hand and his personal relationship with the painted medium is still visible.
In contrast to Hylla’s bold abstraction, Popova presents us with paintings filled with flowing forms. A shape or line will be repeated, painted in a series of translucent tones, as if the resulting shapes are moving in a constant state of flux across the canvas. Described in her own words, these are “feminine gestures for the digital era”. Working on linen, the delicate patterned weave from the fabric remains evident in her painting, giving a sense of softness and elegancy to these works. Popova often plays with the tradition and authority of the rectangular canvas, by resting one painting on another, or standing canvases on objects that sit on the gallery floor. In addition to her painted works, Popova engages the viewer with a range of media, from video and text to performance. In each of the mediums she uses Popova generates a sense of an interrelated practice, where one discipline feeds into, following thematic trends through a variety of different forms.
Within both artists’ practices is an investigation into colour and form, reminiscent of modernist artworks and the ideologies inherent within these. As an exhibition, Twofold inhabits the derelict space of a once futuristic tower block, initially occupied as offices, and later a fast food restaurant to its current state as a now warn out and abandoned architectural ruin, providing a potent reminder of the legacies of modernism. The juxtaposition of these artists’ works against this site brings into question the ideals and aesthetics of modernism and our continuing relationship to them today. Held within both Hylla and Popova’s practices are an awareness of, yet distance from these aesthetic ideals. Each artist utilises their own historical knowledge of painting, design and architecture, which in turn informs their own practices and allows each to move into new and distinct territories.
Gregor Hylla graduated from architecture at the Universität der Künste, Berlin in 1992. Solo exhibitions include The Class On Prophecy Has Been Cancelled Due To Unforeseen Circumstances, Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin, 2009. Previous group exhibitions include Abschüssige Heiterkeit, Jacky Strenz Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, 2010, A THING IS A THING IN A WHOLE WHICH IT’S NOT, Temporary Gallery, Cologne, 2010, Tropical Winter, Expo Valerie, Shanghai, 2010. Hylla is represented by Tanya Leighton, and currently lives and works in Berlin. Yelena Popova graduated from the Moscow Art Theatre School in 2000, received a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art from Central St Martins in 2007 and graduated from MA Painting, Royal College of Art in 2011. Solo shows include Unnamed at Figgie von Rosen Galerie, Berlin, 2012. Recent group exhibitions include, Joyful Archipelago, Yinka Shinobare's Guest Project, London, 2012, East Meets West, Quad, Derby 2012, New Contemporaries, London and Sheffield, 2011. Popova is represented by Figgie von Rosen Galerie (Berlin), she currently lives and works in Nottingham.