My name is Elena Popkova, a 49-year-old Russian scholar, a Doctor of Science in Economics, and an artist, living in Volgograd and working all over the world. To be more precise, I’m a photo artist, because I use the camera as a tool for recording and transmitting the artistic vision of a person of science.
My research activities as a scholar currently focus on the development of a unique method to determine the gravity of an economic crisis—the so-called ‘underdevelopment whirlpool’. At the moment, I am deeply engaged in studying the category of time, where my thoughts are closely aligned with the theory of the astrophysicist, Nikolai Kozyrev, who believed that time is a direction and that there is a defining correspondence between cause and effect. Hence, time has a physical property.
I first elaborated on this research topic through my art with a 2019 exhibition and book: “Antifragility: The Life of a Rose”, in Germany. My interest was in exploring the space where the irreversibility and continuity of existence were depicted in photographs that portray the life cycle of a rose—wonderfully unique and incredibly vital. The antifragility of a flower is an essential prerequisite for development—as the capacity to overcome resistance is the primary goal and objective of any living being and every kind of human activity.
Science and art share a close affinity in my work. When you have had a continuous academic career since your studentship, a philosophical and artistic approach to the reality around you develops as a natural and permanent result. I guess that this is why my photography turns to themes associated with the underlying foundation of any science—the cycles of life and death and their visualizations in nature.
It was as I reflected on how these ideas are entangled with each other, that I created my second series of works: “Antifragility: The Life of Trees”.
Trees know about the approach of winter; know when their leaves have become a burden; when they should shut down the vessels carrying their sap up to their crowns; and when to accumulate their sap at the roots to create a store for when it is bitterly cold. They know when they should set their seeds so that future generations will have a better chance of surviving. They know how to live and how to keep themselves safe. The trees in my work, just as any other trees in the world, know everything about Antifragility. There is no end for them and the phenomenon commonly known as death is only a transformation.
This second series on Antifragility is, like the first, the subject of an exhibition at Cologne Art Gallery and will also be a book.
Within a relatively short time in art, I’ve learned to experience and analyze a lot of things just by looking around. I would like to show people beyond the sphere of direct intellectual activity that all the answers and the luxury of knowledge are much closer than they think. All you have to do is to gaze at simplicity I show you in my minimalistic photos. You have my word, you’ll be amazed. Just do it persistently, don’t be afraid of resistance.