For Projects 98, Slavs and Tatars will build upon their recent cycle The Faculty of Substitution, creating a new installation titled Beyonsence, which takes its name from a translation of zaum—the Futurist experiments with transrational language and poetry.
The collective’s first solo museum presentation in the United States, Beyonsence explores the potentiality of reversals and replacements as a means to retrieve histories and geographies from inherited ideologies. At The Museum of Modern Art, the concept of the antimodern will be examined through objects, text, and image. Deploying wit and unexpected juxtapositions to get at these issues, Slavs and Tatars make visible modernism’s rich complexities and varied manifestations in both the eastern and western hemispheres.
Slavs and Tatars is an international collective of artists, designers and writers active in Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia and the Middle East, dealing directly with history and geopolitics in the post-Cold War, globally connected moment. Self-described “archaeologists of the everyday,” the group, working in a variety of formats, pin their practice to a defined geographic region—that of Eurasia and, more precisely, the vast expanse stretching from the former Berlin Wall to the Great Wall of China. In this place where West physically meets East and a tangle of traditions and languages has converged, intersected and clashed for centuries, Slavs and Tatars center their inquiry. Traversing cultural and emotional registers, their installations, performances, public interventions, artists’ books, and editions often draw from archival sources, such as ancient Zoroastrian calendars, Persian road maps, and Azerbaijani cartoons from the early twentieth century, as much as they do contemporary pop songs and slang phrases. Dissatisfied by the limitations set by any one discipline, the group adopts a hybrid approach for their research and engagement.
August 15–December 10, 2012
MoMA, New York