Svetlana Atlavina’s project, Contested Space, portrays the perils of travelling on foot, by car and particularly cycling in the streets of central London. The current mixed media installation is inspired by cyclists’ and pedestrians’ experiences. Thus the main purpose of the show is to draw one’s attention to the existing situation within the pool of traffic.
The name, Contested Space, reflects the social situation where every day participants of the city’s traffic compete for their personal track spaces and the shortest journey time. Upon commencing her initial research for cycling in London, she discovered that many people know of cyclists or are cyclists themselves. Several even knew cyclists who have died in the streets of London. Svetlana began researching the dangers of cycling in London in early September 2014. In June the following year, her son’s colleague was hit on her daily cycle rout to work, by a turning HGV on one of London’s notorious junctions, Bank. This personally affected her son and thus motivated Svetlana to continue presenting the realities of travelling in the congested city.
Svetlana’s video portrays the hostile environment of the rush hours, as well as the isolation one experiences within the rush of the city’s arteries. The narrative develops from three view points: pedestrians, drivers and cyclists. There are no judgments, no conclusions, no suggestions, and no one is given moral preference. Some seem to be fending for themselves and breaking the Highway Code, whilst others experience the aftermath. Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers co-exist and contest in unequal weight categories on busy streets and roads. Street design is supposed to provide a positive interaction between groups during their daily routes. However, in reality traffic participants experience a mixture of feelings ranging from care and respect to abuse and hate.
In addition to the video, the exhibition includes a series of oil and acrylic paintings, handmade etched and linocut prints and photographs in an attempt to evoke the unsympathetic reality of the streets of central London. It is up to the viewers to draw their own conclusion.
Svetlana Atlavina is a London based artist. She has degrees in Engineering, Interior Design and PR, and has completed a Fine Art Course, and other specialised art courses at City Lit London.
Her works were exhibited at group exhibitions in Espacio Gallery, Burgh House Hampstead, Candid Art Summer Salon, and at the annual exhibition of Hesketh Hubbard Art Society at Mall
Galleries. The multimedia installation at Willesden Green Art Gallery is Svetlana’s first solo