Noemi Conan

Painter, Migrant, Anger Manager

Polish person living and working in London, telling stories and making images appear. 


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“Elsewhere, far, far from here! too late! never perhaps!”‐1

Noemi Conan and Alexandra Beteeva complete a body of work morphing folklore of Eastern Europe, focusing on excavation of particular moments of sentimental value. Combining graphic works and paintings, they capture diasporic intimacies — described by Svetlana Boym as the recognition between two immigrants of the shared experience of longing in habitual estrangement.

Noemi, born in Warsaw, Poland in 1987, Alexandra, born in 1999, Moscow, Russia, both living and working in the United Kingdom, have met at the Glasgow School of Art while studying Fine Art. Being displaced from their birthplace, living in voluntary or involuntary exile, their intimate experiences occur against a foreign background. This mirrors a widespread reality amongst the people living in late stage capitalism. What haunts the artists is not the past but a lost future, not what was but what could have been. Diasporic intimacy enables mutual understanding and can be approached only through indirection, through stories and secrets.

The works evoke a fairytale quality, both through bold colours and fantastical elements. This makes obvious that the focus is emotional realism instead of direct representation, combining the ambiguity of the internal worlds with the tension of the external. Existing within a psychological space whereby the figures sit quietly and insistently uncanny. Ethereal and dream-like portraits, nodding to romanticism, poetic or narrative in effect.

The artists decided to include collaborative works where they merge their respective individual languages, coming together to highlight what they have in common — working with personal archives but often referring to a time and place they have never experienced, thinking about nostalgia and childhood.

“Playing the game of hide-and-seek with memories and hopes,”2 they revisit a childlike state allowing them to re-collect and re-examine the fragments of their past.

Noemi Conan and Alexandra Beteeva's body of work stands as a testament to the transformative power of art, offering a glimpse into the profound connection between individuals who share the experience of displacement and the persistent hope for a future that might have been.

1 Charles Baudelaire, Fleurs du mal: To a Passer-By, trans. by William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia (New York: Basic Books, 2001)

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