Varvara Shavrova is a visual artist born in the USSR who lives and works in London and Dublin. Shavrova’s practice is focused on excavating the layers of her 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. In the installation Inna’s Dream Shavrova reinterprets the first Soviet amphibious aeroplane designed by her great uncle in 1930s. The demilitarised and domesticized version of a deflated military machine echoes the collapsed Soviet dream of the powerful and the ‘high flying’. The infantile giant toy kit becomes symbolic of capitulated militarism that challenges the core symbols of masculinity and power.
Varvara Shavrova studied at the Moscow Polygraphic Institute, and lived and worked in London, Beijing and Dublin. Shavrova participated in Should I Stay or Should I Go? group exhibition at Patrick Heide Contemporary Art (2019), and her recent projects include Mapping Fates, multi-media installation in Lenin’s apartment in St. Petersburg (2017) as part of Facts and Fictions ProArte Festival of contemporary art in traditional museums. Shavrova’s project The Opera received international acclaim and includes photography, sound and video installations, shown at The Temple Beijing (2016), Momentum Berlin (2016), the Gallery of Photography Ireland (2014), the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2014) and at Espacio Cultural El Tanque in Tenerife (2011). Shavrova received Culture Ireland awards for her solo exhibitions in Beijing, Shanghai and Berlin, and British Council award for individual artists. Shavrova curated international visual arts projects, including The Sea is Limit exhibition at York Art Gallery (2018), examining migration, borders and refugee crisis, and Map Games: Dynamics of Change, international art and architecture project at Today Art Museum Beijing, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, CAOS Centre for Contemporary Arts, Terni, Italy (2008-2010).