Slavs & Tatars

Mother Tongues and Father Throats
Woolen yarn, ca. 500 x 300 cm
Location: Corneliu Miklosi Museum of Public Transport 

A diagram showing letters of the Arabic alphabet and the corresponding parts of the mouth used to pronounce these letters, Mother Tongues and Father Throats turns to the throat as a source of mystical language – as opposed to the tongue's more profane, transactional role. Here, the artists have added the letters for guttural phonemes [gh] and [kh] in Cyrillic and Hebrew as a nod to these letters' importance across disparate fields such as Russian futurism, Kabbalist gematria and Sufi exegesis.


River Bed
Wood, textile
81 x 260 x 160 cm
Location: Corneliu Miklosi Museum of Public Transport 

The takht is a vernacular structure found at teahouses, roadside kiosks, shrines, entrances to mosques and restaurants across Iran and Central Asia. This is known as a bed, or what we, in this region, call a ‘River Bed’ in honour of its ideal location by a source of water. The takht accommodates a group of four or five people without the unfortunate and unspoken delineation of individual space dictated by furniture such as a chair. Friends, families, and colleagues sit, smoke shisha, sip tea, eat lunch, take naps and create – however momentarily – a sense of public space, all the more remarkable in countries where public space is circumscribed, such as Iran.


Mystical Protest
luminous paint, Muharram fabric, fluorescent lights with colour sleeves, cotton
240 x 620 x 15 cm
Location: Stefania Palace

Mystical Protest looks at the numinous, or the holy, as a potential agent for change in the concrete, material world. Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar and the second-holiest month of the year, following Ramadan. Each year, during the month of Muharram, Shi’ites re-enact various rituals and rites surrounding the death of Hussein Ibn Ali, the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson. A text in neon reads: “It is of utmost importance that we repeat our mistakes as a reminder to future generations of the depths of our stupidity”, which offers a defeatist admonishment to revolutionary calls for change.


Slavs and Tatars is 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. The collective’s work spans several media, disciplines and a broad spectrum of cultural registers (high and low).

The collective’s practice is based on three activities: exhibitions, books and lecture performances.

Slavs and Tatars participated in the 58th Venice Biennale (2019).

Their recent solo exhibitions have taken place at Frans Masereel Centrum (2022); Neubauer Collegium Gallery, Chicago (2022); Cantor Fitz Gerald Gallery, Haverford (2021); Kunsthalle Osnabrück (2021); Hayward Gallery, London (2021); Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2021); Villa Arson, Nice (2020); Sugar Contemporary, Toronto (2019); Gallery «y», Minsk (2019); Kunstverein Hannover (2018); Albertinum, Dresden (2018); Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (2018); CAC, Vilnius (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade (2017); Salt Galata, Istanbul (2017); Pejman Foundation, Tehran (2017); Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw (2016). Their work has been exhibited in group exhibitions in Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (2020), GfZK, Leipzig (2020); Kunstmusem Wolfsburg (2020); Centre Pompidu Metz (2020); Kunstmuseen Krefeld (2019); the Kunsthalle Darmstadt (2019); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2018); Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (2018); Kunsthaus Graz (2018); the Gwangju Biennale (2017); Hessel Museum of Art, New York (2016); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2015); Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong (2015); Kunsthalle Zürich (2014); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2014); The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (2014); Berlin Biennale (2014); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); Centre George Pompidou, Paris (2013); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2013); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012); New Museum Triennial, New York (2012); Tate Modern, London (2011).