Two new solo exhibitions for Nottingham Contemporary
16 July – 25 September 2016
Nottingham Contemporary presents two solo exhibitions this summer, by German artist Michael Beutler and Russian-born, Nottingham-based Yelena Popova.
Working with a team of local collaborators, Beutler will transform two of our four galleries into a site of production for his monumental site-specific installations, recycling found materials using a set of handmade tools. Constructed from repurposed materials such as paper and cardboard, the resulting modular structures will completely transform the galleries, forming a DIY response to the architecture of Nottingham Contemporary.
Circles and Ovals, 2016. Painting installation, mixed media on linen, wooden pieces and dissected marble cast of Julius Caesar; dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Philipp von Rosen Gallery. Photo by Jules Lister
Channelling the spirit of ad hoc invention, and the disappearing tradition of co-operative labour, Beutler’s work can be read as a form of resistance to automation, and a collaborative response to social architectures. Titled Pump House, his presentation at Nottingham Contemporary is the second chapter of an exhibition that opened earlier this year at Spike Island, Bristol, and will reuse the original materials.
Beutler’s project will provide a bridge between two contemporary art centres in post-industrial cities, both of which were designed by the same architects. Caruso St John redeveloped the galleries at Spike Island in 2007, in the building that was formerly a tea packing factory. Nottingham Contemporary is a purpose-built gallery that opened in 2009 in the city’s Lace Market.
In Nottingham Contemporary’s other two galleries will be After Image, a solo exhibition by Yelena Popova, her first institutional show in the UK. Shimmering between materialisation and disappearance, Popova’s work considers the histories of abstraction, by thinking about how painting – and images – can vanish. The exhibition comprises a number of ambitious new works, including Public Gallery, a large installation of barely-there paintings, in which visibility becomes a political stance. A new moving-image piece, This certifies that, uses computer code to generate infinitely variable sequences of images based on the designs of Euro banknotes. A meditation on the abstractions of capital, the piece reflects on the social consensus required for the financial system to function.
Popova’s exhibition will be accompanied by the first monograph on her work, which will provide a concise overview of a practice that continually pushes at the edges of what painting can be. The publication includes specially commissioned texts by two acclaimed writers. In his essay, the critic Brian Dillon considers Popova’s work through the lens of H.G. Wells’s 1897 novel The Invisible Man, noting that, ‘apparition and evanescence seem to happen at the same time.’ The writer Claire-Louise Bennett has contributed a subtle and complex that piece that thinks through the different sense in which painting can move beyond the frame.
Michael Beutler’s exhibition is co-produced by Spike Island and Nottingham Contemporary. Beutler’s family workshop Production Playground is supported by Goethe-Institut London.
Main image credit: Sausage Walls (2014/2016) Installation view, Spike Island, Bristol. Courtesy Stuart Whipps (photographer) and Spike Island