In her recent project Mapping Fates, artist Varvara Shavrova brings to life her own and her family history by using historical photographs that become templates for tapestries, woven fabrics and textile art works and a sound track that is based on some stories that have been passed down from generation to generation, and occasional letters that survived wars and conflicts.
Shavrova‘s practice is focused on excavating layers of her own and her family history through the process of remembering, recalling, retracing, re-enacting stories that are assembled into a visual montage, and where a collective notion of ‘a history’ is explored through an individual perception of ‘a past’. Through the perspective of one family that was living in Georgia and Russia, we are invited to explore some of the key themes in the history of Eurasia in the 20th century: dispossession, migration, immigration and loss of identity experienced by Shavrova’s ancestors at the turn of the last century are mirrored by almost identical crisis experienced worldwide today – poverty, wars, global migration, refugee crisis, redefinition of borders, redistribution of world power and creation of new dominant geopolitical order.
In the context of the festival, Shavrova‘s project interferes with the exhibits at the Elizarovs museum, a beautifully preserved 5 room apartment that was the home of Lenin’s sister Anna Ulyanova and her husband Mark Elizarov, and from April to July, 1917 also of Vladimir Lenin and Nadezhda Krupskaya. The everyday objects of the Elizarov museum (furniture, photographs, a chess set, Lenin’s wheel chair, photographs) that are part of one family history at the turn of last century are contextualized by the re-traced history of another family – Shavrova’s – with a completely different historical and personal fate.
Branch of the Smolny State Historical and Memorial Museum The Elizarovs’ Apartment Museum is located in a tenement house built in 1913. The apartment was owned by the engineer Mark Elizarov who was Lenin’s older sister Anna’s husband. Besides the Elizarovs the apartment accommodated Lenin’s younger sister Maria Ilyinichna Ulyanova and his mother Maria Alexandrovna Ulyanova who spent here her last years and died in 1916.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and his wife Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya moved into the apartment upon their return from the Swiss exile in April 1917. During three months spent by Lenin in the Elizarovs’ apartment, he wrote 170 works. Here the meetings of the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party were held and many Bolsheviks attended them. The apartment was converted into Museum in 1927, its exposition being dedicated to life of a city intellectual of the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century. The permanent exhibit tells about the life of the Ulyanovs-Elizarovs family.
Address: 52 Ulitsa Lenina, Apt. 24
Closest metro station: Chkalovskaya
Tel.: +7 (812) 235-3778
Museum hours: Monday, Tuesday, Saturday, Sunday 10:00 – 18:00
Wednesday 13:00 – 20:00
Closed: Thursday, Friday