Fermented is Political
Fermentation is the results of a managed decaying course of; an integral a part of the pure cycle that embodies the transition from one stage of life to a different. A mirrored image of the transient nature of existence, deteriorating processes testify to nature’s transformative energy that enables one type of matter to evolve into one thing new. These processes function among the many most full of life environments on the planet, as micro organism play essential roles within the complexity and interconnectedness of the pure world and residing issues.
Regardless of its plain significance, fermentation is commonly seen as unsettling as a result of its affiliation with rotting, which in flip triggers instinctive aversion in many individuals. Nonetheless, decaying matter is definitely teeming with life—and due to this fact sensuality—additional proof of our incapacity to acknowledge that even in decomposition there’s nice magnificence. Each intercourse and fermentation contain processes of creation, transformation, and development, and incorporate a twin nature of delight and management. Although they don’t appear to be pure allies, fermentation, and sensuality share views that aren’t in any respect antithetical to the act of studying. All three are transformative dynamics nurtured by a component of persistence and anticipation, as they require time for the method to unfold. They contribute to an expertise of deep exploration and understanding that may result in visceral connections.
“Salty Sermon” is Slavs and Tatars’ first solo present at eastcontemporary and presents a collection of artworks that examine the natural relationship between language and the follow of studying by way of the unlikely phenomenon of fermentation. With works drawn largely from the collective’s Pickle Politics cycle, which delves into the microbial world inside and across the human physique, “Salty Sermon” appears to be like to fermentation as a method of reconsidering political company, from the analogies discovered between the microbial processes of decay and metaphysical transformation to these of broader societal or political phenomena.
Salty Sermon (2020), the central work within the exhibition, is a manifesto of pickling within the kind of a giant tufted wool carpet. Right here fermentation is introduced not solely as a culinary method however as a course of that challenges standard notions of preservation and epistemology. In contrast to extra conventional—and virtually germophobic—means, pickling permits conservation by a calculated type of decay. This counterintuitive strategy, the place one thing is achieved by its obvious reverse, presents a problem to Enlightenment ideas which regularly depend on dualistic thought and blunt, oversimplified categorization. Impressed by the work of Russian symbolist Andrei Biely, the work’s topic serves as a hymn to micro organism, yeast, and different microorganisms, to counsel a extra advanced and nuanced understanding of cultural, mental, or historic preservation.
Mental nourishment is a central matter additionally in Kitab Kebab (2020), the place a sprawling stack of Slavs and Tatar’s books is diagonally pierced by an outsized brochette, questioning the frontal methodology towards data acquisition. The title combines the time period kitab, which is derived from Arabic and Persian, that means “ebook” or “scripture,” and the phrase kebab, a culinary time period representing a technique of cooking meat, notably related to the Center East. The violent act of skewering meat to roast it’s juxtaposed with the fragile act of shopping pages to learn them, illustrating as soon as once more two reverse approaches, this time to layered meals—one for consuming, one other for thought. The phrase play suggests a relationship with textual content that extends past mere evaluation and encompasses affective and digestive dimensions. The analogy between the mind and the articulated constructions of the abdomen reminds us that each one elements of our our bodies are delicate and receptive organs that merely communicate completely different languages.
Equally, Hung and Tart (2016) additionally give attention to the surprising parallel between two completely different organs of the human physique. The sculpture represents a coronary heart morphing right into a tongue, thus symbolizing a shortcut between the conceptualization of speech and its speedy and heartfelt expression. The work’s title additionally provides a way of anticipation or want, alluding to a connection between the organs of speech, digestion, and sexuality.
The exhibition area consists of Underage Web page and Down Low Gitter (2018), two works that invite guests to take a seat and browse. The 2 sculptures are manufactured from stainless-steel and upholstered leather-based and belong to an intensive collection impressed by crowd-control mechanisms. Generally known as Gitter in German, these parts sometimes operate as a barrier or grid used for guiding and controlling crowds. Slavs and Tatars have tailored the crowd-control mechanism to particularly accommodate the follow of studying, hinting on the civilizing and communal act of studying.
Produced on a 1:1 scale from the unique Gitter, and re-designed within the method of a triclinium, Down Low Gitter (2018) emphasizes a direct relationship with actuality, prompting viewers to replicate on the intersections between public areas, and a shared and pleasing follow of studying.
On the opposite finish, Underage Web page (2018) consists of a single seat and a bookrest, utilized to the wall and linked by a steel tube. The tube between the reader’s legs is paying homage to these for pole dancing, but it additionally turns the studying seat into a jail stool. This minimal factor might function a instrument for sensuality, suggesting an intimate and pleasurable side of studying—and could be seen as a method of management, implying self-discipline or penance whereas studying. A duality that turns into much more impactful within the realm of non secular texts, the place the expertise can embody each liberation and submission. The paintings additionally invitations contemplation on the transformative shift within the historical past of studying, emphasizing the transfer from a communal and predominantly oral nature earlier than the affordability of print know-how, which led to a extra individualized expertise. This alteration supplies the autonomy to have interaction with texts independently, enabling essential considering. It’s a marked departure, particularly regarding scriptures, the place interpretations traditionally leaned in direction of vertical, dogmatic approaches.
Initially conceived as an artist ebook, the mirror collection Love Me, Love Me Not (2018) speculates on the dualistic or in any other case extra fluid nature of the written phrase as effectively. The paintings delves into the historic and geopolitical shifts encapsulated within the family tree of a given metropolis’s identify. The mirrors painting the continual modifications in nomenclature, showcasing how these are intricately linked to the recurring impacts of empires, states, and populations all through the previous. Love Me, Love Me Not attracts consideration to the method of adjusting cultural landscapes, inviting us not solely to acknowledge the often-overlooked Asian or Muslim heritage of a seemingly European metropolis however to echo the mutable nature of cultural id.
For over 15 years Slavs and Tatars have dedicated to analyzing the area often known as Eurasia, delving into the intricacies of this geopoetic area by difficult stereotypical heritages and prevailing narratives. They deepen our understanding of how colonial and Eurocentric management have formed cultural, linguistic, and historic frameworks, fostering a essential interrogation of current energy constructions. In these tumultuous occasions, their work underscores the enduring significance of urging viewers to reassess dominant narratives.
—Zoë De Luca Legge
at eastcontemporary, Milan
till January 27, 2024