One neutron too many (U238>PU239)

Yelena Popova (1978 - )

Jacquard woven tapestry


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© Yelena Popova

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Image of One neutron too many (U238>PU239)
  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall

    One neutron too many (U238>PU239) is based on diagrams of the relatively weak uranium used in nuclear fuel, and the highly-radioactive plutonium used in nuclear weapons. Uranium and plutonium differ by just one neutron: a seemingly minute disparity that has major potential consequences for our species. With multiple rays and waves appearing to emanate from the circles at its centre, the tapestry evokes the intensity of its subject. Indeed, plutonium can have a half-life of up to 373,000 years, which far exceeds the history of human civilisation.

    Yelena Popova's work incorporates various media including painting and film. Reflecting her upbringing in the Urals, her painterly style harks back to Russian Constructivism, while her video work investigates themes of balance, ecology and power relations.

  • About the artist
    Yelena Popova (b. 1978, Urals, Russia) lives and works in Nottingham. She studied at Moscow Art Theatre School and Byam Shaw at Central St Martins before graduating from MA Painting at the Royal College of Art in July 2011. She has exhibited internationally since 2011, and has won several prizes including The Outset Prize (2011), The Parallel Prize (2011), The Red Mansion Prize (2011), in addition to being shortlisted for The Arts Foundation Awards: Painting (2013).
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    Materials & Techniques
    textile, jacquard woven tapestry
  • Details
    One neutron too many (U238>PU239)
    Jacquard woven tapestry
    height: 180.0 cm, width: 139.5 cm, 1.0 cm
    Purchased from L'étrangère, January 2019
    L'étrangère, London, UK; from whom purchased by the UK Government Art Collection, 2019
    GAC number