Founded in 2006, Slavs and Tatars mine the complexities and unexpected affinities across cultures through publications, lecture performances, and installations. Originally set up as an informal book-club, the collective explores a literary and political geography known as Eurasia, defined by themselves as “east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China”. The artists work across cycles, where extended periods of research give life to an eco-system of installations, sculptures, lectures, and printed matter that question our understanding of language, ritual and identity. In this context, viewers are invited to perform the "metaphysical splits" by trying to accommodate conflicting ideas and sensations drawn from opposite ends of the cultural, religious, historical, or emotional spectrum. Imbued with humor and a generosity of spirit, their work commonly blends pop visuals with esoteric traditions, oral rituals with scholarly analysis in a way that opens new paths of contemporary discourse.
The subjects of Slavs and Tatars’ lecture performances include transliteration as language in drag, Slavic Orientalism and the metaphysics of protest. These works have been presented extensively at leading universities, museums, and institutions. Books by Slavs and Tatars include Mirrors for Princes (NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery and JRP-Ringier, 2015), Friendship of Nations: Polish Shi’ite Showbiz (Book Works, 2013), Khhhhhhh (Mousse/Moravia Gallery, 2012), Not Moscow Not Mecca (Revolver/Secession, 2012), Love Me, Love Me Not: Changed Names (onestar press, 2010), Kidnapping Mountains (Book Works, 2009), as well as their translation of the legendary Azeri satire Molla Nasreddin: the magazine that would’ve, could’ve, should’ve (JRP | Ringier, 2011).
Slavs and Tatars have exhibited across the Middle East, Europe and North America at institutions including the Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, Istanbul Modern, 10th Sharjah, 8th Berlin, 3rd Thessaloniki and 9th Gwangju Biennials. Select solo engagements include MoMA, NY (2012), Secession, Vienna (2012), Dallas Museum of Art (2014), Kunsthalle Zurich (2014), and NYU Abu Dhabi (2015).
Slavs and Tatars were nominated for the 2015 German Nationalgalerie Preis.