Art collective Slavs and Tatars describes itself as “a faction of polemics and intimacies devoted to an area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia.” But although its geographical context is clearly defined by two historic barriers, the group’s intellectual curiosity knows no bounds. With a practice concerned with the merging of different philosophical and religious systems, Slavs and Tatars grew out of a book club, formed in 2006 by a Polish-Iranian duo. It has remained firmly engaged with written culture and ideological exchange ever since, supplementing its exhibitions with books and lecture-performances.
Slavs and Tatars latest venture is Made in Dschermany, their largest German exhibition to date. Housed within the Dresden state collection’s Albertinum, Made in Dschermany is a diverse body of work encompassing video, sculpture, sound art and wall hangings. With language functioning as an overarching motif, the exhibition plays with the “dsch” used to designate the “j” sound in the German language. The “Dschermany” of the exhibition’s title, for instance, represents an example of alterity in familiarity, posing questions about how society processes encounters with the Other. Throughout the exhibition, the group hopes to prompt discussions about German orientalism by examining German language and literary culture, and tracing the nation’s relationship with Islam.
Artists’ book Wripped Scripped, published by the Albertinum and Kunstverein Hannover, accompanies the exhibition, alongside a programme of supporting events including guided tours and the one-day symposium “Sum, ergo cogito”.
Made in Dschermany is at the Albertinum at Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden until 14th October, 2018.