Slavs and Tatars<br>SOCIETY OF RASCALS

“This is a grievous sin, this is the profanation of a sacred thing-​of history. If you felt the neces­sity of ven­ting your spleen on your fatherland’s past, what preven­ted you from doing it in your own name? You know, it would not have been worse than the way it is now. Everybody is well aware that you are a renegade. They say that you are even gone over to the Moham­medan faith, and I am afraid that It may even be true. However you are not com­pletely at fault. Per­haps this is simply an organic deficiency, I suspect that your mother when she was pregnant hap­pened to come across an album of drawings by Hogarth. She feasted her eyes on them and that is why you now see everything in caricature.” 
–Adam Mic­kiewicz to a member of Society of Rascals, Józef Sękowski


For their second show at Raster, the Slavs and Tatars col­lec­tive presents an instal­lation in the form of a pickle-​juice bar. The title Society of Rascals (Towarzystwo Szubrawców) was drawn from the name of a now-​forgotten literary society of 19th-century Vil­nius. The society was famous for its heavily ironic, caustic displays of satire that stood coun­ter to the self-​important stance of the roman­tics, their sooth­saying and exal­ted engagement in the nationalist discourse. Slavs and Tatars reference the group’s “pavement prose,” or specifically low-brow lan­guage, coupled with its cosmopolitan approach towards national iden­tity. They bring in the centuries-​old kit­chen tradition of pic­kling to ferment or turn sour the roman­tic con­cep­tion of father­land and power. The pic­kled juices served by the artists along with provocative lexical gym­nastics are meant to sug­gest an antidote for the pathos of Polish patriotism, while also expres­sing their own acerbic regard for any politics based on the oppositional binary of us-versus-them.


Slavs and Tatars’s work will be the sub­ject of a mid-​career retrospec­tive at the CCA Ujaz­dow­ski, Warsaw in Novem­ber 2016 and CCA Vil­nius in the spring of 2017.


Slavs and Tatars