From February 22 to April 21, 2019, internationally-renowned art collective Slavs and Tatars presents “Mоваланд” (Movaland) at Minsk’s “Ў” gallery of contemporary art, their first solo exhibition in Belarus. The artists’ uncanny combination of humor, research, and social sculptures – investigating a region they define as “between the former Berlin wall and the Great Wall of China”– has been presented at leading museums over the world.
Slavs and Tatars’ work addresses rituals, language politics and identities across a variety of media. At the center of the exhibition is the installation PrayWay, which plays on the traditional reading stand for sacred texts and a vernacular seating structure found in teahouses. The sound installation Lektor, based on a Turkic mirrors for prince text, or advice literature for future rulers, uses a voice-over translation reminiscent of late socialism. The overlapping of several languages creates an inadvertent space of hospitality via issues of multilingualism, respect and representation. Slavs and Tatars’ work captivates with humor, language jokes and sensual design that transports visitors in time and space.
The exhibition coincides with an inaugural residency and mentorship program at the Slavs and Tatars studio in Berlin. Artists, curators, and practitioners from Belarus participate in the studio’s multiplatform practice, gaining invaluable experience and mentorship for their own individual work.
An accompanying public program spread throughout the city will involve diverse audiences and communities in Minsk. Amongst these, a visit to the Tatar community in Minsk, a master class on straw weaving, and a fermentation workshop.
Slavs and Tatars – Biography
Slavs and Tatars’ practice is based on three activities: exhibitions, publications and lecture-performances. Their work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Salt, Istanbul; Vienna Secession, Kunsthalle Zurich, Albertinum Dresden and Ujazdowski Centre for Contemporary Art Warsaw, among others. In addition to their translation of the legendary Azerbaijani satirical periodical Molla Nasreddin (currently in its 2nd edition with I.B Tauris), Slavs and Tatars have published ten books to date, most recently Wripped Scripped (Hatje Cantz, 2018) on the politics of alphabets and transliteration. The collective will curate the 33rd edition of the Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts, opening in June 2019.