Biography

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.

Shavrova studied at the Moscow State University of Printing Arts, and received her Masters in Fine Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London. Shavrova’s recent project Inna’s Dream reinterprets the first Soviet amphibious aeroplane designed by her great uncle in 1930s, and includes tufted carpet objects and site-specific drawings installation at Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London (2019). Mapping Fates, multi-media installation reflects on Shavrova’s family migration, and includes tapestries and sound, shown in Lenin’s apartment in St. Petersburg (2017). Shavrova’s project The Opera portrays the gender fluidity in traditional Peking opera. It received international acclaim and included photography, sound and video projections, and was 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 Santa Cruz de Tenerife (2011).

Shavrova received Culture Ireland awards for her solo exhibitions in Beijing, Shanghai and Berlin, British Council award for individual artists, and Ballinglen Arts Foundation Fellowship awards. Shavrova curated international visual arts projects, including The Sea is Limit exhibition at York Art Gallery (2018) and at Virginia Commonwealth University Arts Qatar Gallery in Doha (2019), examining migration, borders and refugee crisis, Giving Voice exhibition of Mary Robinson’s presidential archive in Ballina library in County Mayo, 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). Shavrova’s works are included in the collections of the Office of Public Works, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Momentum Collection Berlin, the Ballinglen Museum of Contemporary Art, Minsheng Art Museum Beijing, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of the History of St. Petersburg.

Portrait by Marion Galt

EDUCATION

2016-2019 MFA (Fine Art) Goldsmiths College, University of London Public

2004-2005 Art & Design NVQ, Freeform Arts Trust, London

1987-1990 Fine and Art & Graphic Design, Moscow State University of Printing Arts

SOLO EXHIBITIONS AND PROJECTS

2020 Inna’s Dream, ‘Space’ Late, Science Museum, London (postponed to 2021)

2019 Inna’s Dream, Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London

2017 Reflections on Haw Lantern, site-specific installation at Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy, N.Ireland

2017 The Opera,  Live stream and on-demand, IKONO TV Imaginary Museum, Berlin

2016 The Opera, MOMENTUM Berlin and Temple Beijing Cultural Centre, Beijing, China

2015 Borders new works, Galway International Arts Festival, Galway, Ireland
          Miniature Suicides new works, Fotonoviembre 2015 Photography Festival, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

2014 The Opera, Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London
          Digging with Seamus Heaney, site-specific live poetry performance and sound installation, Beijing CBD
          Windows on Dublin and Beijing, Open House Dublin in collaboration with Broadstone studios, Dublin

2013 Windows on the Hutong, La Camara Gallery, Fotonoviembre 2013 Photography Festival, StaCruz de Tenerife

2012 The Opera, Gallery of Photography Ireland and Dublin Chinese New Year Festival 2012, Ireland
          The Opera, Ballina Arts Centre, Ballina, Co.Mayo, Ireland
          Untouched , Ballina Civic Offices, Ballina, Co.Mayo, Ireland

2011 The Opera special commission & site specific installation, Espacio Cultural El Tanque, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
          Windows on the Hutong, Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London

2010 Windows on the Hutong, Gallery 49 presented by Pekin Fine Arts, Beijing, China

2009 Untouched, Galway Museum, Galway International Arts Festival 2009, Galway, Ireland
          Untouched, Irish Arts Festival, Irish Culture Centre, Shanghai, China
          Between the Borders, Morono Kiang Gallery, Los Angeles
          Borders, RichMix, London
          Untouched projections, Gallery of Photography Ireland, Temple Bar, Dublin

2008 Borders, Galerie Morgen, Berlin and Patrick Heide Art Projects London
          Untouched, Beijing Art Museum of Imperial City, Beijing
          Marriage Proposal project, Intrude 266, Zengdai MOMA, Shanghai

2007 Borders, Moscow Museum of Modern Art and Rumiantsev Palace, Museum of the History of St.Petersburg
          Borders, the Asia-Pacific Forum of Russian Diaspora, Embassy of Russia, Beijing

2006 Walls (with Wu Hugong), Dong-Xi Gallery curated by MADA SPAM, Jade Valley Mill, Lantian,Shaanxi, China
          Interferences OffiCina Studio, Factory 798, 3rd Dashanzi International Art Festival, Beijing
          Interferences Dartmoor Gallery, High Moorland Visitors Centre, Princetown, Dartmoor National Park, Devon

2005 New Arrivals-Two Dimensions (with Ben McMillan) Centre for European Art in China, East End Art Zone, Beijing

2003-2006 Landscape Fossilised: From Ballycastle to Beijing National Day Reception, Embassy of Ireland, Beijing
          Patrick Heide Art Projects, London, Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar, Ceide Fields Visitors Centre, Ballycastle
          Co. Mayo, Cross Gallery, Dublin Patrick Heide Art Projects, Frankfurt

2003 Mapping an Island (with Nicola Rae), Patrick Heide Art Projects, London

2002-2003 Sound of Colour (with Alyson Brien), Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax, Yorkshire

2002 Inscriptions and other works InsideSpace gallery, London

2001-2002 Inscriptions: Painting The Line Touring Exhibition in UK & Ireland, curated by Reyahn King: James Hockey Gallery,
          Surrey Institute of Art & Design, Farnham, Aston Hall, Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery, Stanley Picker Gallery,
          Kingston University, Kingston-upon-Thames, Model Arts and Niland Gallery, Sligo, Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar,
          Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Ballycastle, County Mayo, Ireland

2001 Monotypes and Other Prints 1996-1999, Vital Arts at The Barts Hospital NHS Trust, London

1998 Passion Grace and Fire, Blains Fine Art, London

1996 Porthleven, Curwen Gallery, London

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2020 COVIDecameron: 19 Artists from the MOMENTUM Collection 10th Anniversary Online Exhibition

2020 A Woman’s Work, European Prospects online project platform, exhibitions and international symposium

2019 The Sea is the Limit, in collaboration withThe 8th Biennal Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art
The Seas and Mobility of Islamic Art, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar
Degree Show Goldsmiths MFA Fine Art, Laurie Grove Baths, Goldsmiths, University of London
Shall I Stay or Shall I Go?, Patrick Heide Contemporary Art and Bartha Contemporary, London

2018 The Sea is the Limit, exhibition on migrant crisis, York Art Gallery, York, UK
Conspiracy of the Real. Artistic Perspectives in a Post-Truth Climate , Tenderpixel, London

2017 Red October, special event and project presentation, National College of Art & Design (NCAD), Dublin
Pulse Miami, Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, Florida, USA
10 Years, anniversary exhibition, Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London
Mapping Fates installation at Lenin’s apartment, St.Petersburg, Facts and Fictions ProArte 14th Festival
of contemporary art in traditional museum curated by Katryn Becker, NBK Berlin
Deptford X festival, Goldsmiths MFA studios, Deptford, London
Claremorris Gallery VUE art fair, Royal Hybernian Academy, Dublin
MursaraMix video art festival, Jerusalem

2016-2017 The Sea is the Limit, Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London

2016 Ganz Grosses Kino, MOMENTUM and Kunst-im-Kino at Kino International, Berlin

2015 UnFold exhibition curated by Peter Prendergast, MART projects space, Dublin, Ireland
The Opera installation at Inaugural Chinjiang Chongqing Biennale of Photography and Video Art,
Chinjiang Contemporary Art Museum, Chongqing, China

2014 The Opera installation at ‘Across Chinese Cities: Beijing’ collateral project exhibition, Arsenale 100, Venice
Biennale of Architecture curated by Rem Koolhaas
The Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London

2013 New Irish Landscapes curated by Tanya Kiang , Three Shadows Photography Arts Centre, Beijing, China

2012 Mirrors on the Opera curated by Tanya Kiang, Pingyao International Photography Festival, Shanxi, China
Tense curated by Helen Carey, Limeric City Gallery of Art, Limerick, Ireland

2011 The Opera screened at THE LEAP Shanghai Contemporary Video Program curated by Phillip Tinari, Shanghai

2010 The Space In-Between, Trailblazers special project at Dublin Contemporary, Dublin

2009-2010 Eye World Drawer Exhibition curated by Emily Cheng, New York

2009 Sale, Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London

2008-2009 Map Games: Dynamics of Change. Art and architecture from Beijing, international touring exhibition
curated by Feng Boyi, Varvara Shavrova and offiCina(Beijing), Today Art Museum, Beijing; Birmingham
Museums & Art Gallery, Gas Hall, Birmingham UK, Terni Centre for Contemporary Art (CaoS), Terni, Italy

2008 Elemental video commission, GreenPix Media Wall, Xicui entertainment complex, Beijing
Through the Lens: New Media Art from Ireland, Beijing Art Museum of Imperial City, Beijing

2007 Borders screenings, Photoquai festival of non-European photography and video, Theatre Claude Levi-Strauss,
Musee du Quai Branly, Paris
CEAD Irish Art Exhibition, curated by 411 Gallery, Shanghai and Beijing
Irish Artists in China, Irish arts and cultural forum, Beijing Institute of Graphic Communications

2006 Portraits and Still Lives installation at China- Chai-na exhibition, 706 Space, 3rd Dashanzi International Arts
Festival, Factory 798, Beijing

2003 Drawing and Sculpture, Ashford Gallery, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin

2001-2003 Jerwood Drawing Prize 2002, exhibition of shortlisted artist, University of Gloucestershire,
Cheltenham touring to London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester & Hull

2002 Women Who Draw, Sherbourne House, Dorset
New Works on Paper, Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland

2001 The Jerwood Drawing Prize 2001, Cheltenham and touring to London & Hull

1999 Summer exhibition, Blains Fine Art, London

1998 Fever, Painting show, Blains Fine Art, London

CURATORIAL PROJECTS

2019 The Sea is the Limit (Curator), exhibition at Virginia Commonwealth University, Doha, Qatar, in collaboration
with the 8th Biennal Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium The Seas and Mobility of Islamic Art exploring issues of
borders, migration and identity

2018 The Sea is the Limit (Guest Curator), group show on migration, borders and refugee crisis, York Museum,
York, UK, in collaboration with Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London

2014 Giving Voice, (Guest Curator), exhibition of Mary Robinson’s Presidential archive, Ballina Library,
Mary Robinson Foundation, Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland

2008 Through the Lens: new media art from Ireland, (Exhibition Curator), Irish Arts and Culture Festival, Beijing Art
Museum of Imperial City, Beijing, China

2005-2009 Map Games: Dynamics of Change, (Exhibition Curator), multi-media visual art and architecture project
involving 24 Chinese and international artists and architects, co-curated with Feng Boyi, and realized in
collaboration with offiCina(Beijing). Touring from Today Art Museum, Beijing to Gas Hall, Birmingham
Museums & Art Gallery and CaoS (Centre for Contemporary Art), Terni, Italy

AWARDS, FELLOWSHIPS, RESIDENCIES

2020 Visual Arts COVID-19 Response Award from the Arts Council of Ireland

2019-2020 Artist in Residence, Artists in Prisons Scheme supported by the Arts Council of Ireland

2015-2016 Culture Ireland Award for The Opera project at MOMENTUM Berlin

2015 MART project space collaborative residency

2014 Culture Ireland Award for The Opera installation at Arsenale, Venice Biennale of Architecture, Italy

2013 Visual Arts Award for Irish Chinese Stories project, Dublin City Council
Culture Ireland Award for New Irish Landscapes group exhibition, Three Shadows Photography Arts Centre, Beijing
curated by Tanya Kiang, Gallery of Photography Ireland

2012 Culture Ireland award for the Mirrors on the Opera, curated by Tanya Kiang, Pingyao International Photography
Festival, Pingyao Ancient City, Shanxi province, China

2008,2009 Culture Ireland award for the Untouched exhibitions in Beijing and Shanghai

2004-2006 Residency at Shovel Down art and archaeology project, Dartmoor National Park, Devon

2002-2003 Grant to Individual Artists, London Visual Arts Fund, London Arts

1999-2004 Ballinglen Arts Foundation Fellowship Awards, Ballycastle, Co.Mayo

2000 Cill Rialaig Project, Residency Award, Ballinskelligs, Co.Kerry

1994 Go & See Portugal The Prince’s Trust Artists’ Travelling & Working Award, Portugal

1993 Openning Up Spaces Travelling and Working Award, European Artists’ Workshop, Ettesburg Castle and ACC Gallerie,
Weimar, Germany

1990-1993 Studio Award The Florence Trust Studios, London

TEACHING AND LECTURING

2020 Visiting Lecturer, St. Andrew’s College, Dublin

2020 Visiting Lecturer, Heatherley’s School of Art, Chelsea, London

2019 Visiting Lecturer, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, School of Art

2000-2019 Visiting Lecturer, Undergraduate and Postgraduate Fine Art courses, Leeds University, University of Surrey,
          Kingston University, Tsing Hua University, Beijing, Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Beijing,
          Renmin Beijing Normal University

2006-2010 Art Club Tutor, Beijing Fangcaodi International School, Beijing, China

2008 Visiting Artist, Harrow International School, Beijing, China

2001-2005 Art Tutor, Artist in Residence, Our Lady & St. Joseph RC Primary School, Hackney, London

1998-2005 Lecturer in Fine Art (painting, drawing, sculpture), Heatherley’s School of Art, Chelsea, London

1997-2005 Art Tutor, Geffrye Museum, British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Museum of Childhood,
          Museum of London, the Ragged School Museum, the Hayward Gallery, London

SELECTED PANEL DISCUSSIONS AND TALKS

2018 Ways of Telling: The Sea is the Limit. Panel discussion as part of Who We Are? project at Tate Exchange, in
          collaboration with York University, Counterpoint Arts, Refugee Week and Tate Modern, London
          The Sea is the Limit. Round Table Discussion, York Museum, concurrent with The Sea is the Limit exhibition, York Art
          Gallery

2017 Red October public event commemorating 100 Anniversary of the Russian Revolution, National College of Art & Design
          (NCAD), Dublin

2016 Visualising Chinese Borders international conference, presenting paper on Between the Borders project, Manchester
          Metropolitain University First Thought Talks: On Identity, with Catrina Crowe, the Galway International Arts Festival,
          Ireland
          Matrioshka: Layers of Transformation in Peking Opera. How Contemporary Artists Look at Traditional Chinese Opera.
          In dialogue with Li Zhenhua, Momentum Berlin

2015 The Sea is the Limit gallery talk on representation of migrant crisis in contemporary art, Conversations series at
          Patrick Heide Contemporary Art London

2010 Untouched film and photography project, presentation at the Beijing Bookworm International Literature Festival,
          Beijing, China

SELECTED PUBLIC ART COMMISSIONS

Reflections on Haw Lantern, site-specific installation at Seamus Heaney HomePlace museum, Bellaghy, N.Ireland

Digging with Seamus Heaney, site-specific live poetry performance and sound installation, Beijing CBD, China

The Opera commission and site specific installation, Espacio Cultural El Tanque, Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Landscape Fossilised Drawing installation commission for Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar, Co.Mayo, Ireland

Reflections Vitreous enamel installation commission for New Medical School, Keele University, Staffordshire University Trust

River Rom Vitreous enamel installation commission for Romford Shopping Centre, Brewery Trust and Havering Council

One Mile East Mural commission for One Mile East community art project, London

Transient Blue Vitreous enamel installation commission for Euston Tower, London

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY AND PUBLICATIONS

2019 The Sea is the Limit. Exhibition publication. Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar
The Sea and Mobility in Islamic Art. 8th Hamad bin Khalifa international symposium on Islamic art. Virginia
Commonwealth University in Qatar Symposium publication
‘The Sea is the Limit’ in Marhaba, Qatar’s Premium Desination Guide (29 Oct)
‘Art shines a spotlight on migrant issues’ Qatar Foundation (11 Nov)
‘Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium puts spotlight on diversity of Islamic art’ by Shafeeq Alingal, Gulf Times (13 Nov)

2019 ‘Inna’s Dream’ by Russian Art & Culture magazine (Nov 26)

2019 ‘Varvara Shavrova’s presentation ‘Inna’s Dream’, Afisha London magazine (Nov-Dec)

2019 ‘The Story of One Flying Carpet. How the grandfather of Soviet aviation “flew” to London’ by Vladislava Zhunina.
ZIMA Magazine (in Russian) (July 22)
‘Painted into a corner..British art responds to the folly of Brexit’ by Jonathan Jones, The Guardian (March 1)

2018 10 Years, anniversary publication, Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London
‘Art of Exodu’s, feature by Yvette Huddleston, the Yorkshire Post Magazine (July 14)
The Sea is the Limit interview for That’s TV York (July 20)
The Sea is the Limit exhibition reviewed in The Independent, The Big Issue, Aesthetica Magazine, Platforma,
Refugee Week, The Church Times, Fairtrade Week, ArtRabbit, ArtFund, The Yorkie, York Press, York Mix
(May-June)

2016 Beijing Radio and Russian Radio interviews from the Opera exhibition in Temple Beijing, China 2015 ‘Border
Strangeness and a Fraught Relationships’ by Aidan Dunne (July 22)
Interview from the Borders exhibition, Galway Matters, IrishTV (July)
‘Borders’ exhibition review by Gemma Tipton, ArtForum (July)
Exhibition Caltalogue, Inaugural Chinjiang Chongqing Biennale of Photography and Video Art,
Chinjiang Contemporary Art Museum, Chongqing, China

2014 ‘Across Chinese Cities’ exhibition catalogue , and Venice Biennale of Architecture 2014 official
Biennale catalogue
Summer Exhibition 2014, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy of Arts, London
‘Russian London: Summer Exhibition 2014 at the Royal Academy of Arts’, London
Interview Digging with Heaney interview for ITAR-TASS, Russian news channel network, Beijing (March 12)

2013 ‘New Irish Landscapes’ at Three Shadows Photography Arts Centre, Arts & Culture Review, Beijing, China
(March 20)
Fotonoviembre 2013, exhibition catalogue, International Biennale of Photography, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Nov)
‘Look into the Windows’: Varvara Shavrova at Fotonoviembre 2013’, exhibition review by Anastasia Aralova,
Icarus magazine Tenerife (Nov)

2012 ‘The Opera’ exhibition at the Gallery of Photography Dublin, review by Gemma Tipton, Arts Review (Feb)

2011 ‘The Opera’ installation at Espacio Cultural El Tanque, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Nov)
‘Windows on the Hutong’, exhibition calalogue published by Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London

2010 ‘So bad, she is good’ by Sheng Taotao, Global Times, Beijing (March 22)

2009 ‘Capturing decay in Beijing and Mayo’ by Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times (July 22)
‘From Beijing to Ballycastle’ News in Brief, Western People (July 28)
‘Temple Bar Square Project’ The Ticket, The Irish Times (January)
‘Between the Borders’ exhibition catalogue published by Morono Kiang Gallery, Los Angeles
‘Varvara Shavrova at Morono Kiang Gallery’ review by Leah Ollman, Los Angeles Times (February 5)
‘Short List: LA’s Gallery Shuffle’ by Jeannine A. Denholm, 944.com Pics/ Artform (February 2)
‘Between the Borders: Exhibition review’, THE LA’s monthly magazine for the arts (February)

2008 ‘Map Games: Dynamics of Change’ exhibition catalogue published by offiCina, Beijing
‘Untouched’ photobook published by Timezone8, Beijing
IntrudeArt ( Issue 04 2008) published by Zengdai MOMA, Shanghai
RTE News, TV interview, (July)
‘Through a Chinese Lens’ by Clifford Coonan, The Irish Times Weekend Review (April 5)
‘Untouched’ exhibition review, Time Out Beijing (March)
‘Surprising similaritie’s by He Jianwei, Beijing Today, Center stage (March 21)
‘Tales of the City’ Interview for Beijing Radio 774

2007 Varvara Shavrova ‘Borders’, Time Out St.Petresburg, exhibition review (May 18-31)
Varvara Shavrova ‘Borders’, newspaper catalogue, published by Agey Tomesh, Moscow, Russia