Slavs and Tatars

Dallas Museum of Art

Left to right: Slavs and Tatars, Love Letters No.1, 2013. Courtesy Three Star Books, Paris. Love Letters No.2, 2013. Love Letters No.9, 2013. Wool and yarn. Courtesy Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin and Raster, Warsaw.

July 28, 2014

Concentrations 57: Slavs and Tatars 
July 18–December 14, 2014

Dallas Museum of Art
1717 North Harwood
Dallas, TX 75201

T +1 214 922 1200

www.dma.org

The artist group Slavs and Tatars will for the first time present the complete series of Love Letters carpets—ten in all—together with a new audio piece produced specifically for their exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art. Concentrations 57: Slavs and Tatars, opening July 18 and on view through December 14, will also include three additional works of sculpture from their current thematic series, “Long Legged Linguistics.” This installation is the latest in the Museum’s Concentrations series of project-based solo exhibitions by international emerging and under-represented artists. Concentrations began in 1981 as part of the DMA’s commitment to showing the work of living artists, while preserving the excitement of the work.
 
Slavs and Tatars, founded in 2006, is an art collective whose installations, lecture-performances, sculptures and publications contemplate otherwise little-known affinities, syncretic ideas, belief systems and rituals among peoples of the Caucasus, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Pursuing an unconventional research-based approach, the group identifies the “area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia” as the focus of their multidisciplinary practice. In their most recent cycle of work, the group has investigated language as a source of political, metaphysical, and even sexual emancipation. With their trademark mix of high and low culture, ribald humor and esoteric discourse, the collective addresses the complex issue of alphabet politics—the attempts by nations, cultures, and ideologies to ascribe a specific set of letters to a given language. 

For Concentrations 57, Slavs and Tatars present Love Letters, a series of ten carpets based on the drawings of Russian poet, playwright, and artist Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893–1930). Through caricature, the carpets depict the wrenching experience of having a foreign alphabet imposed on one’s native tongue and the linguistic acrobatics required to negotiate such change. In particular, the carpets tell two parallel stories: that of Vladimir Lenin’s forced Romanization of the Arabic-script languages spoken by the Muslim and Turkic-speaking people of the Russian Empire, and the 1928 language revolution of Mustafa Kamal Atatürk—Turkey’s first president —in which the Turkish language was converted from Arabic to Latin script. 
 

Acknowledgements
Concentrations 57: Slavs and Tatars is organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and curated by Gabriel Ritter, The Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art. The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color illustrated brochure with explanatory text by the exhibition curator. Additional support for the presentation is provided by the Contemporary Art Initiative and TWO X TWO for AIDS and Art, an annual fundraising event that jointly benefits amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research and the Dallas Museum of Art. Air transportation is provided by American Airlines. The exhibition is included in the Museum’s free general admission.

 

Slavs and Tatars at Dallas Museum of Art
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