The second instal­ment of their mid-​career survey, the exhibition at Pejman Foundation’s newly opened Argo Fac­tory in down­town Tehran, appropriately enough a stone’s throw from the Rus­sian embassy, will feature all three axes of the artists’ prac­tice: publications, lecture-​performances, and exhibitions. Mar­king ten years of the collective’s activity, art becomes a plat­form of trans­lation – of one organ into another, the heart into the mind, the stomach into the head, as part and parcel of any Abrahamic under­stan­ding of hospitality.

The collective’s Eurasian remit – “between the former Berlin Wall and the Great Wall of China” in their own words – acts as a foil to an under­stan­ding of our­selves as mul­tiple sub­jec­tivities. Their focus has a par­ticular resonance in a capital and coun­try whose history, traditions, and cul­ture offer some of the more com­pel­ling arguments today against reduc­tive nationalism and for an elaborate syn­cretism, in this case between Per­sianate, Arabic, Rus­sian, and Turkic spheres of influence, to name a few.

Across a range of sculp­tures, bal­loons, audio works and publications, “Nose to Nose” looks to the Sufi notion of ham­dami, the breathing together of sen­suality and spirituality. Their “Not Moscow Not Mecca” instal­lation, first exhibited at the Vienna Seces­sion in 2012, will be restaged as an anti-​anthropocentric altar: a retel­ling of faith via fruits and flora. Slavs and Tatars’ insistence on metaphysical and intel­lec­tual con­tamination marks their unique place in con­tem­porary art. Like their anti-​modern mascot, Molla Nasred­din, the artists sug­gest looking to the past while moving resolutely for­ward: not in order to return to a Moder­nist inter­nationalism, nor to reac­tivate a revan­chist nationalism, but rather to shar­pen a popular under­stan­ding of the cosmopolitan. Their means of doing so passes via a focus on infra-politics–the impor­tance of whispers, utteran­ces, and sayings often invisible to the official register but no less traded amongst people.

After débuting at the CCA Ujaz­dow­ski, the exhibition will run at Salt Galata, Istan­bul in summer 2017; CAC Vil­nius in fall 2017; and Museum of Con­tem­porary Art in Bel­grade in winter 2017.

exhibitions abroad

Slavs and Tatars in Teheran

Slavs and Tatars
"Nose to Nose"
Pejman Foundation: Argo Factory

No. 6, Behdasht St., Taghavi St., Ferdowsi Ave., 
Tehran - Iran




Photos courtesy of Pejman Foundation