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Borders- Varvara- Shavrova

08.08.2008 - 30.08.2008

Galerie Morgen, Oranienburger Str. 27 10117 BERLIN

Varvara Shavrova
Drawing installation, photographs & videos

Patrick Heide Contemporary Art as guest gallery at Galerie Morgen (BERLIN)

Patrick Heide Contemporary Art is pleased to announce his first exhibition project outside the UK:
“Borders�? is a deeply personal portrait of Varvara Shavrova’ s journey from Northern China to the Amur region in the Russian Far East. The project is visually and thematically inspired by a set of 80’s and 90’s US military flying charts, which illustrate the Russia-China border territories. Through the use of large-scale drawings, video and photography, Shavrova explores the changing and ambiguous meanings of the term ‘borders’. She examines it as a physical and psychological dividing factor between different cultures but also reveals the connecting and permeable character of a border.
’...The most appropriate word with which I can describe the ‘Borders’ project is the word ’reflections’.
Reflections in the literal meaning are identified as mirror images, twins of reality, shimmering outlines of snow-covered hills in the calm motion of the Amur River; or reflection as self-portrait, placed in the
blurred space between bus or train window and video or photo camera. On the other hand, reflections in the figurative sense of the word, as moments when reality stops in space and time, when the borders between fiction and daily routine become blurred, and at the same time a strong sense of self- awareness and awareness of the world around takes place’. (Interview with Nana Zhvitiashvili)
Shavrova’s fascination with mapping and cartography is retraceable in her large scale drawing installation ‘Maps’ based on American flying charts, a series of 17 map-like drawings on long scrolls of semi-transparent paper, executed in traditional Chinese ink. The drawings work as a complete spatial installation, which the viewer has to ‘navigate’ to explore the changing details of the abstracted maps.
For her series of horizontal photomontages Shavrova chose regional border landscapes of the Amur river, the forests and road tracks on the Russia-China border and printed them in a “double reflection�? manner. The mirroring effect underlines the theme of the border as contemplation upon our limitations, highlighting the connecting rather than the separating nature of a frontier.
The photographic series “Sleepers�? of sleeping Chinese migrant workers crossing the border by train represent the transitional state during a journey. It investigates not only the physical passage from one country to another but also the metaphorical transition from one reality to another, from sleep to wake, from consciousness to the subconscious.
Her two videos, “Borders/1�? and “Borders/2�?, stand for the ‘nature’ and the ‘people’ aspects of the journey. The tranquility of the vast monochrome landscapes of the territories near Mohe is juxtaposed with the hectic rhythm of the border town of Heihe buzzing with cross border trading. Trucks drive back and forth in these remote regions creating tracks in the snow, calligraphic traces of economic necessity.
Varvara Shavrova was born in Russia and studied at the Polygraphic Institute in Moscow. She then lived in the UK and Ireland, married an Irishman, and now lives and works in Beijing. “Borders�? is hence also a personal journey between past and present, between the place of origin and the place of choice and above all a reflection upon the inner and outer limits of our world and of ourselves.

Shavrova received numerous international awards and fellowships including the Culture Ireland Grant (2008), the Arts Council Grant (2001), the Balliglen Arts Foundation Fellowships (1999-2003) and the Prince’s Trust Award (1994). She has exhibited widely in Ireland, Britain, Germany Russia and China, where her work features in many corporate and private collections. The “Borders�? project was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in Moscow and the Museum of History in St Petersburg in 2007.

...Overview 2008