Shavrova's practice is focused on excavating the layers of history through the process of remembering, recalling, retracing and re-enacting stories. In engaging memory, nostalgia and reflection, the artist creates installations that make connections between historic and current narratives, between the archival and the present.
In her current work, she examines the symbols of power and authority whilst investigating their relationship to the individual. The process of empathy is the means of materializing the past into the present. The materiality of her installations is a comment on women’s labour, and include objects made of paper, thread, yarn and fabric, with methodologies of drawing, weaving, embroidery and knitting often combined with digital technologies and the moving image. Thematically, her work often investigates ‘borders’ in physical, geo-political and gendered terms.
In Shavrova's new and ongoing Threads of Surveillance. Soft Drones Series (2020-2021), she examines the tools of surveillance, question the notion of privacy and address the meaning of civil liberties in the context of a pandemic. By the end of March 2020, nearly 3 billion people, or every 5th person on this planet, found themselves under total or partial lockdown. Quarantine enforcement, contact tracing, flow modelling and social graph-making are some of the data tools that are being used to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. In the various states of emergency that different countries around the world are experiencing today, mass surveillance is becoming normalised. As citizens, we are asked to sacrifice our right to privacy and to give up civil liberties in order to defeat the pandemic. What happens once the state of emergency is over?
Hovering on the intersection of historic appropriation and contemporary reflection, the artist develops ideas around tangible and intangible flying objects that conjure up various elements of surveillance mechanisms. The hand embroidered drawings of drones are sewn directly onto soft fabric used as interlining for drapery and curtains, thus evoking the sense of domesticity and comfort. That comforting sense of security and domesticity is in stark contrast with the objects that she is depicting, thus reflecting on the notion of surveillance that interferes with the very basics of our daily existence.
The process of making a drawing using thread refers to surveillance methodologies set up as domestic traps. The associations that she is developing are those of insects being trapped in webs, like a fly trapped in a spider’s web, or images of airplanes following flight charts, or surveillance and spy maps used by pilots. The threaded and embroidered drawings will be further developed into sculptural objects that will eventually inhabit the space around them, creating spiders web-like traps, with objects suspended, pulled and stretched within their physical environments, that will trick and lure the viewer inside them.