February 13, 2013 - REDCAT - Slavs and Tatars
February 13, 2013

Slavs and Tatars

Slavs and Tatars, Only Solidarity and Patience Will Secure Our Victory, 2011. Courtesy the artists; Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin; The Third Line, Dubai; and Raster, Warsaw.

Slavs and Tatars
Friendship of Nations: Polish Shi’ite Showbiz

February 10–March 24, 2013

Opening: Saturday, February 9, 6–9pm
Artist lecture at 6pm

631 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012


An examination of the unlikely points of convergence in Poland and Iran’s economic, social, political, religious, and cultural histories—from seventeenth-century Sarmatism to the twenty-first-century Green Movement—Friendship of Nations: Polish Shi’ite Showbiz addresses how the two countries’ respective efforts toward self-determination have shaped the larger geopolitical landscape and punctuated the historical narratives of Communism and Islam. The exhibition at REDCAT and related public programs cohere around key historical moments in Polish and Iranian modernism, when folk tradition and religious practice give way to the undercurrents of political and social reform.

Friendship of Nations represents the outgrowth of research by Slavs and Tatars, an international collective of artists, designers, and writers, into the area commonly referred to as Eurasia, a complex geography the group identities as being “east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China.” As part of an ongoing series of works that employ disparate media and graphic styles to focus on an oft-forgotten sphere of influence between Slavs, Caucasians, and Central Asians, the multiplatform exhibition at REDCAT brings together a selection of recent sculptural objects, embroidered tapestries, and lectures that represent the collective’s first exhibition in Los Angeles.

Founded in 2006, Slavs and Tatars has since had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Secession, Vienna; KIOSK, Ghent, Belgium; and Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, Germany. They have been included in such notable exhibitions as Sharjah Biennial 10, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; the 8th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil; the 9th Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju, South Korea; and The Ungovernables, New Museum, New York. Recent publications by Slavs and Tatars include Kidnapping Mountains (Book Works, 2009), Love Me, Love Me Not: Changed Names (Onestar Press, 2010), Not Moscow, Not Mecca (Revolver/Secession, 2012), Khhhhhhh (Mousse/Moravia Gallery, 2012), as well as Molla Nasreddin: the magazine that would’ve, could’ve, should’ve (JRP-Ringier, 2011), a translation of the legendary Azeri periodical.

Slavs and Tatars’ Friendship of Nations: Polish Shi’ite Showbiz is funded in part with generous support from Étant donnés, the French-American Fund for Contemporary Art, as part of Ceci n’est pas… Art Between France and Los Angeles; and the Consulate of Poland, Los Angeles. Additional support provided by Stefan Simchowitz and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. The Standard is the official hotel of REDCAT.

Related programs

Thursday, February 7
Molla Nasreddin: Embrace Your Antithesis
Arguably the most important Muslim periodical of the twentieth century, Molla Nasreddin was a political satire read by an audience that stretched from Morocco to India and addressed such issues as gender equality, education, colonialism, and Islam’s integration of modernity. Slavs and Tatars discusses the Azeri periodical’s historical context and presents a case study of the region otherwise known as the Caucasus, the figure of the anti-modern, and the issue of self-censorship both then and now.

UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies
Bilingual Lecture Series
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Los Angeles Central Library
Mark Taper Auditorium
630 West 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Saturday, February 9
From the Beach Boys to monobrows, 79.89.09 is a lecture that looks at two key modern moments, the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and Poland’s Solidarność movement, as the respective bookends to the twentieth- and twenty-first-century geopolitical narratives of political Islam and Communism.

631 West 2nd Street 
Los Angeles, CA 90012

February 7–March 23
Dear 1979, Meet 1989
Slavs and Tatars’ archive of books, magazines, and printed ephemera on the 1979 Iranian Revolution and Poland’s Solidarność movement comes to the Los Angeles Central Library as part of Works Sited, an ongoing series of programs and displays featuring work with themes relating to the library’s collections and practices.

Los Angeles Central Library
Works Sited
630 West 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Gallery at REDCAT aims to support, present, commission and nurture new creative insights through dynamic projects and challenging ideas. The Gallery presents five exhibitions every year, often of newly commissioned work that represents the artist’s first major presentation in the U.S. or Los Angeles. The Gallery also maintains an active publishing program producing as many as two major monographs per year. Proceeding from the geographic and cultural specificities of Los Angeles, its program emphasizes artistic production of the Pacific Rim—namely Mexico, Central and South America and Asia—as regions that are of vital significance to California. The Gallery aims to facilitate dialogue between local and international artists contributing to a greater understanding of the social, political and cultural contexts that inform contemporary artistic practice.

Gallery at REDCAT is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 6pm or until intermission. It is closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission to the Gallery at REDCAT is always free.

REDCAT is located at the corner of W. 2nd and Hope Streets, inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles (631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012).

Slavs and Tatars at REDCAT, Los Angeles
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