Upton House has been transformed back to its 1940's life, so on my second visit to this NT property much of the furnishings have been removed and the Bearsted family Merchant Bank has been moved in, just as it had during WWII in an effort to protect its staff and assets. Lots of paintings were also moved out to safety.
Yelana Popova is current;y artist in residence at Upton House. These are beautiful paintings and feel so fragile and intangible. Hung in what was once the squash court, it took a while for my eyes to adjust to the dim lighting and then, slowly the images on the canvas start to appear. They do bring to mind everything about a collection of paintings, particularly in NT houses. Restoration, instillation, what happens to them when paintings are removed and then there is the space that is left behind before i even get to the disappearance of those depicted in the painting, their eventual anonymity. The disappearance of paintings follows throughout the house while we are back in the '40's, in the faded wallpaper around where a panting used to be. At the same time Popova's work feels very contemporary, which is really interesting to me right now, the contemporary and the old, really old, together.
These small bathrooms in a cupboard were not open to the public on my last visit and are one of my favourite things about the house. Recreated with an intimate and personal touch...
You can see more pictures from Upton House and Yelana Popova's residency on my Flickr here.