Germany_Switzerland Patrons Circle

Slavs and Tatars‘International Pavillon at 58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia’, 2019

Outset Germany_Switzerland is pleased to support Slavs and Tatars’ participation at Venice Biennale 2019 and to donate a work of of the installation to the public collection of a German institution.

Founded in 2006, the artists’ collective Slavs and Tatars, takes the little-known affinities, syncretic ideas, belief systems and language politics between the former Berlin Wall and the Great Wall of China as a premise for thorough examinations of our present. Their work has been exhibited around the globe, from the MoMA to the Istanbul Modern, the Vienna Secession to the Tate Modern.

The instal­lation Dillio Plaza crowns the main exhibition at the Arsenale, providing it a reflec­tive coda. Con­ceived of as a zone of relaxation and physical and spiritual rein­for­cement, it offers among other things the possibility of refresh­ment with a glass of sauer­kraut juice and a seating area around a specially designed foun­tain. The entirety is dedicated to Johann Georg Hamann, a German philosopher who rejec­ted the Enligh­ten­ment division between intel­lect and emotion. The main pavilion in the Giar­dini exhibits a full series of embos­sed textual works by Slavs and Tatars.

Fermentation features prominently in Slavs and Tatars’ newest cycle of work: a way to move beyond the binaries of Enlightenment thinking. To ferment is to preserve and to rot, to activate bacteria and to break down a substance, all at once. Some see in bacteria the very first Other: a kind of digestive Abrahamic hospitality. Perhaps most importantly, fermentation originated on the Eurasian steppe, a crucial means of preserving nutrition for the nomadic tribes of the region, those very people against which Western civilization has defined itself for millennia: the Turkic peoples, the Barbarians, the Mongol hordes.

Half-sculptural intervention and half-scenography, a carpet is dedicated to Johann Georg Hamann, the enfant terrible of the anti-Enlightenment or, in his own words, ‘to Nobody and to Two?. Johann Georg Hamann was a contemporary and friend of Immanuel Kant. However, Hamann was an opponent of enlightenment and rationalism. He put humor and wit in front of rational thinking and pled for the transformative potential of non-linear thinking. ‘At No One and at None’ is a pamphlet for the receipt of the mute, h ‘, written from the perspective of the bush itself.