Goldsmiths MFA Degree Show, Laurie Grove Baths, Goldsmiths, University of London
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.