Silvia Russel (1969, born in Nijmegen, NL) lives and works in Amsterdam, the
Netherlands and New York City.
Her work was shown at Gallery MC and White Box in New York and internationally at the
Architectural Biennale in Venice, and Cell Project Space in London, UK, amongst others.
She has had numerous solo-and group shows in the Netherlands at venues such as
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; NAI, Rotterdam;
Museum van Bommel van Dam, Venlo, and Sanquin and Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam.
Over de last years Russel received commissions for permanent art installation in public
and private spaces in the Netherlands.
She has received numerous grants and awards from the Amsterdam Foundation for the
Arts, and The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture to name
a few. Together with LMAKprojects, Silvia Russel published in 2009 ” Borough(ed)
Stories”. Her work has been reviewed in all major Dutch newspapers and art
magazines. Russel recently became part of the Feminist Art Base the first online digital archive dedicated solely to feminist art and part of the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A Sackler Center.
I am interested in how people create their social world. I make their social networks visible in drawings that I show in a public space. I especially interested neighborhoods that are in a state of change, such as the Lower East Side. Here social relations can be seen from different kinds of perspectives. To understand how people see their environment I interview people at the street or arrange meetings in the neighborhood. I ask people about their everyday life. I want to know what social relations they have in their neighborhood, do they like their neighborhood or what things could be better? What issues concern them? What future do they see for themselves in the neighborhood? While researching the area for a certain amount of time, I write down what participants tell me and also make quick sketches of them and situations.
My role as an artist is to translate their stories into drawings that hold both input from interviewees’ perspective but also show a broader view, based on my impressions and experiences in this neighborhood. I finally show the drawings in a public presentation. I this way the participants of my project can see the result of their cooperation. The drawings can function as a mirror for the neighborhood. It also shows outsiders that what is going on in the area might be familiar themes.