Image: Beijing 1/Fish 21 Courtesy of the artist © Varvara Shavrova 2012


















Varvara Shavrova

“Mirrors on The Opera” and “Windows on Two Cities”

Pingyao International
Photography Festival 2012, Pingyao Ancient City, Shanxi, China
September 19-25, 2012
Exhibition of video and photographic works by Varvara Shavrova curated by
Tanya Kiang, Director of the Gallery of Photography, Dublin


For Pingyao International Festival, Tanya Kiang has chosen two projects by Varvara Shavrova which together complement the theme of ‘Returning & Exceeding’. In all her work, Shavrova succeeds in harnessing different or even opposing ideas, and forging new dialectical relationships and dynamics. Here, her work takes up the ideas of the ‘mirror’ and the ‘window’, which are
the two most fundamental structuring principles of all photographs.


In Shavrova’s “Mirrors on The Opera” video and print installation, the usually distinct realms of female and male biological and cultural identity are brought together. This visually intoxicating exploration of the fragile world of Peking Opera highlights the strikingly modern qualities of this most traditional of art forms, and asserts the fundamental mobility of gender identities.


In the “Windows on Two Cities” series, the recently twinned cities of Dublin and Beijing are juxtaposed in an exploration of the window as one of the guiding metaphors of all photography – indeed, of all post-Renaissance western art. In Dublin or in Beijing, the public life of the street and the private worlds glimpsed through windows are brought into dynamic  interplay. The work delights in the ability of all people, be they from Ireland, China or wherever, to carve out a space for themselves – and it celebrates photography’s ability to capture and represent this in a universal language that all can understand.


Born in Moscow, Varvara Shavrova studied fine art at the Moscow Polygraphic Institute. After 15 years in London, she moved to Beijing, where she lived and worked for over five years. Now based in Dublin, Shavrova’s work formed the highlight of the 2012 Dublin Chinese New Year Festival. She has recently been commissioned by Espacio Cultural del Tanque, Tenerife and will be exhibiting in the Museum of the History of St Petersburg in Spring 2013. Her work is in many important public and private collections. She is represented by Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London. Her work is supported by Culture Ireland.


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