Windows on The Hutong
“WINDOWS ON THE HUTONG”, Varvara Shavrova’s Solo Exhibit Gallery 49, Beijing, China 14 Mar – 05 May, 2010 Opening Reception for Russian-Irish artist Varvara Shavrova’s solo Exhibit at Gallery49 in Cooperation with Pékin Fine Arts and supported by the Embassy of Ireland, Beijing: Mar 14, 2010, from 4 to 6 pm. ALL WELCOME! Gallery 49 1949 The Hidden City, Courtyard 4, Gong Ti Bei Lu, Chao Yang District, Beijing 100027 (behind Pacific Century Place department store) tel 65011949 北京朝阳区工体北路4号,太平洋百货南门对面 邮编 100027 电话:65011949.
The photography series was made in response to the rapidly changing traditional hutong neighbourhoods of Beijing, areas that have been largely demolished with its residents evicted and dispersed over the past years. The intense modernization process Beijing is undergoing has seriously jeopardized most aspects of Chinese cultural history. In particular, following the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the number of Beijing hutongs, alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences, has dropped dramatically as they are torn down to make way for new roads, apartment buildings and real estate speculation. Intensified by the sound installed directly next to the images, Shavrova’s light boxes offer a glimpse of Beijng hutong’s daily life, allowing a nostalgic and intimate insight into a vanishing traditional culture while preserving them over time. Most of the images and sounds were recorded on October 1st 2009 in the hutong neighbourhood where the artist lived herself, on the date when the whole of China celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the foundation of the People’s Republic. Shavrova has made a number of projects while living in Beijing about the capitalization and westernization of Chinese culture. Amongst the projects was “Portraits and Still Lives”, a documentation and mixed media installation about a specific hutong area, which Shavrova had visited regularly and documented in much detail. A London version with local furniture and other apartment interiors packed up into demolition netting will be presented at the opening, in good parts outside the gallery as a vanishing social sculpture and ‘take away’ art installation.