A contemporary art installation by Russian artist Varvara Shavrova lands at the 80th anniversary Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show Friday 18 September 2020: 12.00h – 21.00h
Inna’s Dream is a contemporary art project created by visual artist Varvara Shavrova that reinterprets the first Soviet amphibious airplane Sh-2 as a site-specific textile and carpet installation for the 80th anniversary Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show Inna’s Dream reimagines the first Soviet amphibious Sh-2 airplane designed by the artist’s great uncle Vadim Shavrov in his apartment in 1930s in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is presented as half-size version of Sh-2 plane, that has been entirely hand-tufted by the artist and made into an installation created from carpet. Shavrova is focusing on excavating the layers of her family history through the process of remembering, recalling, retracing and re-enacting stories, examining the symbols of power and authority whilst investigating their relationship to the individual. By engaging memory, nostalgia and reflection, the site-specific Inna’s Dream installation at Duxford Air Show specifically reflects upon the contemporary aerospace industry and its links to conflict, subverted by this soft carpet version of the plane. The work is political and responds to the events that have influenced the course of history. This demilitarised, domesticated version of a deflated military machine echoes the collapsed Soviet dream. The infantile giant toy kit becomes symbolic of capitulated militarism that challenges symbols of masculinity and power while also commenting on women’s labour. Presenting Inna’s Dream to new audiences at Duxford Air Show that commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain juxtaposes the materiality and tactility of the soft carpet installation with the historic planes participating in the show. This encourages the audiences to make connections between aviation, memory and personal histories. The Air Show audiences are expected to look up, following the spectacular air displays in the sky. Shavrova’s project challenges this familiar approach to viewing planes and encourages the audience to literally look down on an airplane, and engage with a personal story in a tactile, direct and unfamiliar way. Inna’s Dream aims to soften the gaze of the spectator and to change the narrative from the spectacular to the intimate. Refocusing on the personal stories of the pilots, engineers and designers, Shavrova’s project highlights the ‘soft side’ of historic aviation.
Inna’s Dream at the Duxford Air Show is financially supported by the National Lottery, through Arts Council England.
Varvara Shavrova is a visual artist born in the USSR who lives and works in London and Dublin. Shavrova studied at the Moscow State University of Printing Arts, and received her Masters in Fine Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London. Shavrova’s recent projects include: Migrant Crisis (2015-2019), shown in The Sea is Limit international exhibition Shavrova curated at York Art Gallery (2018) and at Virginia Commonwealth University Gallery, Doha, Qatar (2019). Mapping Fates (2017) commissioned by the ProArte 14 Festival and shown in Vladimir Lenin’s Apartment Museum, St. Petersburg. The Opera project shown at The Temple Culture Centre, Beijing (2016); MOMENTUM Berlin (2016); Gallery of Photography Ireland (2012); Venice Biennale of Architecture (2014); Espacio Cultural El Tanque, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (2011) and at Musrara Mix international festival of video art, Jerusalem (2017). The Opera is in MOMENTUM collection, the IKONO-TV art channel collection in Berlin, and the collection of Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing, China. Shavrova received awards from the Arts Council of England, the Arts Council of Ireland, Culture Ireland, British Council, Ballinglen Arts Foundation, and The Prince’s Trust. Varvara Shavrova is represented by Patrick Heide Gallery, London.