The Polish and Iranian artist duo Slavs and Tatars will be exhibiting as part of the group exhibition at Istanbul Modern through January 9 - May 8, 2014.
Wishing to remain largely anonymous as a collective of unnamed artists, Slavs and Tatars will present their most recent installation at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (Istanbul Modern)’s upcoming Neighbours – Contemporary Narratives from Turkey and Beyond group exhibition. The show investigates contemporary art practices in Turkey, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Caucasus and the Middle East through a thematic selection of artworks and projects. Slavs and Tatars will represent Poland amongst 35 artists from 17 countries. A rich program of events including screenings, performances, panels, talks, and workshops are dedicated to the region’s art and culture.
Due to their intimate relationship with the region, Slavs and Tatars were one of the first artists that curators Çelenk Bafra and Paolo Colombo selected for the show. Describing themselves as “a faction of polemics and intimacies,” Slavs and Tatars intend to draw their attention from “the area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China, namely Eurasia, due to what they call the end of the ‘Western promise’”. Their creation oscillates between several media, disciplines, and a broad spectrum of cultural registers resulting from art objects, installations, performances to public interventions and publications imbued with humor and irony.
Following their recent residency in Istanbul, as part of the Neighbours exhibition, Slavs and Tatars signaled showing a most recent sculptural and audio-based piece, The Nose Twister (2014). A large-size sculptural installation piece, "the nose" will be a furniture/machine playing arecording of various Central Asian/Turkic literaturary texts from the region. As language and politics of linguistics constitute the core of their oeuvre, with their most recent piece for the exhibition in Istanbul, Slavs and Tatars will bring a Polish perspective on understanding the origins of the Turkish language and question its western and eastern origins.
One can easily be seduced either by their sense of humor or the colorful and playful appearance of many of their installations even without knowing their premises. Bordering on kitschy in terms of aesthetics and catchy by their slogan-like titles, the duo’s work reveals in fact a well-articulated critique and research on major political issues and socio-cultural history. With their most recent piece for the Neighbours exhibition at Istanbul Modern, Slavs and Tatars try to maintain the signature tension carried out through their work: "not knowing whether to take something seriously or not; not knowing whether it is furniture or art."
Focusing on storytelling and travel, the two major themes at the forefront of the region’s cultural life, Neighbours at Istanbul Modern will be housing the Polish-Iranian duo throughout January 9 - May 8, 2014. Slavs and Tatars are sure to excite Turkish, Polish and other audiences from the region in the new year.
Edited by E.M., 20/12/2013