Svetlana Shuvayeva

Svetlana Shuvayeva (born 1986): Russian contemporary artist. Graduated from the Faculty of Design of Samara University of Architecture and Civil Engineering (2010). Contributed to exhibitions (from 2008). Lives and works in Moscow.
Born: 1986, Bugulma (Tatarstan)
Samara Wave

Svetlana Shuvayeva was born in 1986 in the town of Bugulma in Tatarstan. She graduated from the Faculty of Design of Samara University of Architecture and Civil Engineering in 2010 and has contributed to exhibitions since 2008. Svetlana Shuvayeva lives and works in Moscow.

Among the first works which Shuvayev? showed in public were the Scans – prints on canvas created by scanning a moving television image. The resulting abstract pictures are difficult to classify under any specific genre. They are equally reminiscent of both Abstract Expressionism and distorted screen images. The object of the artist’s close scrutiny is the way in which visual images hang in the space of indiscernibility.

Svetlana Shuvayeva studied in Samara, where she became synonymous with the Samara Wave – a new generation of exciting Russian artists who live and work in the city of Samara on the River Volga. Moscow viewers first saw Shuvayeva’s work when she exhibited the Oilcloths series in 2009 at the international Transfer exhibition held in the M’ARS Centre of Contemporary Art.

The Oilcloths were made by placing a black grid on top of polyethylene tablecloths with traditional floral patterns. The combination of the two types of pattern – small multi-coloured flowers and a thick, almost opaque grid – created a remarkable shimmering and glowing effect. An electrochemical reaction seemed to take place between the two layers, releasing a form of energy transforming graphic art into painting and lending it depth.

The main vector of Svetlana Shuvayeva’s aspirations might be described as an interest in self-manifesting or “readymade” painting. This concept lies at the heart of her Mounting Tapes (2009) – a series specially created for Guelman Projects in Moscow which brought the artist international fame. The formal subjects of her pictures are the strips of duct tape used in construction work or urban regeneration programmes.

The use of socially marked objects in pictures has a long tradition in modern Russian art and is primarily associated with Sots Art. Although the influence of Eric Bulatov is evident – something the artist does not conceal – Svetlana’s aims are entirely different. The use of this particular signal system is not steeped in social hints or political meanings. This is not a warning of danger, an attempt to liberate the mind from visual clichés or an investigation/denunciation of modern urbanism.

Shuvayeva’s focus does not shift from the picture in the direction of reality. On the contrary, it moves from the real, three-dimensional space of everyday life in the direction of the picture. Her method is simple, but not naive: she implies space by introducing a sign of space. The mounting tapes lie on top of one another. No matter how thin they might be, they are still there. This means that there is also a picture space, clearly separate from the space of the exhibition hall. These few millimetres are the artist’s personal victory – a space won from artistic illusions, material and tangible.

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