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Varvara Shavrova | Russia/China


Varvara Shavrova‘s works reflect on the relationship between landscape, time and memory. Shavrova has been collaborating with archaeologists in Ireland and the UK since 1999, and her projects encapsulate the experience of historical and archaeological excavation, layering, revealing, mapping, recording and preserving. In the ‘Landscape Fossilized’ project that developed in collaboration with Ceide Fields archaeologist Gretta Byrne, Shavrova appropriated archaeological site drawings and investigated the processes of the recording used during the excavation and preserved in maps and site records.

In 2003 Shavrova started her collaboration with archaeologists at Shovel Down Project. Shavrova was invited to work as Artist-in Residence at Shovel Down Bronze Age site in Dartmoor National Park in Devon, where she researched into processes of archaeological drawing and recording. During her residency Shavrova selected, observed and recorded excavations of four different trenches. One of the trenches appeared to be empty, the other contained a large natural lythic (stone), the third was full of naturally occurring stones, and the fourth might have contained a section of a man-made stone wall. Once the excavations were complete, Shavrova responded to the layout and contents of the trenches and created a series of four site-specific installations.

‘Interferences’ investigate the process of archaeological excavation and present interference with the earth as a process comparable to medical surgery performed on human body involving cutting, removing, cleaning and stitching back. Using archaeological tools found on site and routinely implemented by archaeologists including pins, tape and string, Shavrova wrapped, pinned and sewed the stones, the turf and the earth, and created three dimensional in situ installations that reflected on the dynamic juxtapositions between natural and man-made elements of archaeological processes. The installations were documented in detail and viewed by visitors to the Dartmoor National Park and the Shovel Down over a period of 72 hours, after which they were dismantled.

At the Art and Archeology exhibition in Dublin Shavrova presents five photographs of the ’Interferences’ site-specific installations, together with two graphite drawings on permatrace based on the site excavation maps from Shovel Down project.



Varvara Shavrova is a visual artist and curator currently based in Beijing. Born and educated in Moscow, Shavrova moved to London in 1989 where she lived and worked for over 15 years, sharing her studio time between Hackney, London and Ballycastle in Co.Mayo. In 2005 Shavrova moved to China, where she now lives and works with her Irish husband and two young children.

Shavova’s projects include over 20 solo exhibitions in London, Dublin, Birmingham, Frankfurt, Moscow, Shanghai and Beijing; curatorial visual arts projects in Ireland, UK and China, and many group exhibitions.

Shavrova’s recent projects include ‘Borders’, a multi-media installation based on the Russia-China border, that toured to the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and the State Museum of the History of St,Petersburgh (2007).

The multi-media project, ‘Untouched’ (2008), examined differences and similarities between two locations, a small village of Ballycastle in North Mayo, and a traditional ‘hutong’ neighbourhood in old Beijing. The ‘Untouched’ project formed part of ‘Through the Lens: New Media Art from Ireland’, the visual arts programme of the first Festival of Irish Arts in Beijing, that Shavrova curated at the Beijing Art Museum of Imperial City. Shavrova is also a curator of ‘Map Games’, a touring exhibition of Chinese and international artists in Beijing, Birmingham, UK and Terni, Italy (2008-2009).

Shavrova received a number of awards and fellowships, including Culture Ireland project grant, London Arts grant for individual artists, Ballinglen Arts Foundation Fellowships and Traveling and Working Award from the Prince's Trust. Shavrova's work is in private and public collections, including Department of Foreign Affairs, Embassy of Ireland in Beijing, Mayo General Hospital, and The Ballinglen Archive.








































Interferences [1] 2005/6

Interferences [2] 2005/6

Interferences [3] 2005/6

Interferences [4] 2005/6

Interferences [5] 2005/6





Ábhar agus Meon, Sixth World Archaeological Congress, School of Archaeology, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland
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Designed by iArchitectures (2008).