READING ROOM: SLAVS AND TATARS
In 2006, Slavs and Tatars originated as a book club, aiming to activate the collective notion of reading. Over the past decade, the collective has published eight books as well as numerous essays, pamphlets, and posters which incorporate archival and experimental research, original pieces, and innovative design. Upending the traditional hierarchy of disciplines, the artists’ sculptures, installations, exhibitions, and lecture-performances operate as an Abrahamic premise, to bring us back to the book.
On the occasion of Slavs and Tatars’ traveling mid-career survey, the Reading Room at the gallery is dedicated to the artists’ ongoing engagement with printed matter, the book as a platform for research, the materiality of language, and the act of reading.
Setting the stage, RiverBed is an emblematic work by Slavs and Tatars drawn from traditional vernacular architecture found across Central Asia, Iran and the Caucasus. Unlike the individual space of a chair, RiverBed offers a collective space for reading, reclining, taking tea, often the closest thing to a public space or a salon. A rotating display of volumes from Slavs and Tatars’ own library and printed matter will activate the collective space: reading not only as an intellectual activity but also a sensory and spiritual experience to demystify concepts often considered alien, obscure or overly simplified.