Varvara Shavrova: Untouched

  January 2009

‘Ballycastle Rooms/1’, 2006 Rooms Series, from exhibition and book ‘UNTOUCHED’. © Artist – Varvara Shavrova

Launch: Friday 23rd Jan at 6.30pm

UNTOUCHED is a photographic projection exhibition that identifies common strands of experience in China’s capital Beijing (population 17m) and Ballycastle, County Mayo (population 216).

Images from the small farming community are juxtaposed with work showing the crumbling walls of condemned houses along Beijing’s ancient network of hutong laneways. This particular Beijing neighborhood is currently undergoing major redevelopment. Its characteristic single-storey housing with shared courtyards is set to become a thing of the past, swept aside to be replaced by glass and steel skyscrapers. Thousands of miles to the west, the Irish rural landscape is also undergoing a period of dramatic transformation. Selective depopulation and changing social aspirations are the hallmark of rural Ireland of recent years. Thus the exhibition indirectly reflects on the nature of Ireland’s “Celtic Tiger” phenomenon, and the dramatic expansion of the world’s fastest growing economy.

There are fascinating comparisons to be drawn between the ways in which drastic economic changes have had an impact on the lives of ordinary people. The viewer is thus invited to make a connection between the two seemingly very different cultures and experiences, in order to understand and empathise with the scale of changes on a human rather than a political level.

About the artist:Varvara Shavrova is a visual artist and curator based in Beijing and Ballycastle, Co. Mayo. Born and educated in Moscow, Shavrova’s projects include over 20 solo exhibitions in London, Dublin, Frankfurt, Beijing; curatorial visual arts projects in Ireland, UK and China, and many group exhibitions around the world. Shavrova has received a number of international awards and fellowships, including a Culture Ireland award for ‘Untouched’ which was first presented in the Beijing Arts Museum of the Imperial City as part of the inaugural Irish Culture Festival in 2008. Concurrent with this presentation, Shavrova is undertaking projects at RichMix (London) and Morano Kiang Gallery (Los Angeles). For further details about the artist, please visit

UNTOUCHED will be on view:
Friday – Sunday (Jan 23, 24 and 25) to mark Chinese New Year celebrations. Screenings run from dusk to 10pm. Admission to all screenings is free.