Varvara Shavrova is a visual artist and curator born in the USSR. She studied at the Moscow Polygraphic Institute and at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and lives and works in London and Dublin. Shavrova’s practice is focused on excavating the layers of family’s history through the process of remembering, recalling, retracing and re-enacting stories. In engaging memory, nostalgia and reflection, Shavrova creates installations that make connections between historic and current narratives, between the archival and the present.
In her work, Shavrova examines the symbols of power and authority whilst investigating their relationship to the individual. The process of empathy is the means of materializing the past into the present. The materiality of Shavrova’s installations is a comment on women’s labour, and include objects made of paper, thread, yarn and fabric, with methodologies of drawing, carpet making, loom weaving, embroidery and knitting.
Her new work, an installation titled Inna’s Dream reinterprets the first Soviet amphibious airplane designed by her great uncle in 1930s. The demilitarised and domesticated version of a deflated military machine echoes the collapsed Soviet dreamworld. The infantile giant toy kit becomes symbolic of capitulated militarism that challenges the core symbols of masculinity and power.
Recent exhibitions and projects include Should I Stay or Should I Go? a group exhibition on the theme of Brexit at Patrick Heide Contemporary Art (2019), and Mapping Fates, a multi-media installation in Lenin’s apartment in St. Petersburg (2017) as part of Facts and Fictions for theProArte Festival of contemporary art in traditional museums. Other recent solo projects include video and sound installation Reflections on The Haw Lantern at Seamus Heaney HomePlace (2017) and Borders works at the Galway Arts Festival (2015). Shavrova’s project The Opera received international acclaim when shown at the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2014), The Temple Beijing (2016), Momentum Berlin (2016), the Gallery of Photography Ireland (2014), and at Espacio Cultural El Tanque in Tenerife (2011). Shavrova has curated international visual arts projects, including The Sea is Limit at York Art Gallery (2018) and Map Games: Dynamics of Change, an international art and architecture project at Today Art Museum Beijing, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and CAOS Centre for Contemporary Arts, Terni, Italy (2008-2010). Shavrova has received Culture Ireland awards for her solo exhibitions in Beijing, Shanghai and Berlin, and British Council award for individual artists. Shavrova’s works are held in private and public collections including Museum of the History of St. Petersburg, Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland, Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing/ Shanghai, MOMENTUM Collection, Berlin. Shavrova is represented by Patrick Heide Contemporary Art London.