Portraits and Still Lives


This project was shown at ‘Beijing/Background’ exhibition at the 3rd Dashanzi International Art Festival DIAF , at 706 space inside factory 798, in april-may 2006

‘Portraits and Still Lives’ is a photographic project and installation made in response to rapidly changing old hutong neighbourhood of Beijing. Qianmen, an area located just few minutes south of the Forbidden City and Tianmen Square, that in the past years has been largely demolished and residents dispersed. The project reflects on possibilities to preserve memory and personal history in times of great changes.

In ‘Portraits’ Shavrova reversed the roles of the observer and the observed, as she went around Qianmen neighbourhood and asked the residents to photograph her in front of their houses, shops, restaurants or market stalls. The 76 photos of the artist taken by total strangers form a huge photo collage that in turn is a backdrop for the installation. The ‘Still Lives’ installation is made of old furniture and daily life objects that Shavrova collected from the houses abandoned before the demolition. The objects and furniture were wrapped in black netting used on construction sites to prevent the dust, and tied together with red packing tape.