‘The purity of a language dispossess it of its wealth’
Johann Georg Hamann
For the opening of Kirchgängerbanger, the first solo exhibition in Italy by the Berlin-based collective Slavs and Tatars curated by Emanuele Guidi, ar/ge kunst organizes a two day introductory programme that unfolds around the three main activities of the artists’ practice: exhibitions, books and lecture performances.
Slavs and Tatars established themselves as a ‘book club’ in 2006 and since then their research has continued to echo and expand the act of reading through a mise en circulation of histories reaching from the ‘area of east of the former Berlin wall and west of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia’.
As true bibliophiles and storytellers, the artists draw from the territory of this broad poetic and geopolitical region and resuscitate forgotten figures, pre-modern rituals, myths and traditions, interweaving them with ‘high’ and popular culture; a gesture that challenges our current modes of thought and its perimeters of knowledge. Their syncretic attitude emerges through discourse and objects of various nature, where language always play a major role in stitching together apparently far-away ideas, stories and cultures; a sensuous and affective approach to knowledge that operates by making cracks and gaps of history visible.
With Kirchgängerbanger Slavs and Tatars carry on their latest research on Johann Georg Hamann, the German philosopher of the Counter-Enlightenment, amateur orientalist and cryptic writer who was highly esteemed by his colleagues such as Goethe, Kierkegaard and Kant for his humorous, unorthodox and radical positions.
Slavs and Tatars go back to Hamann to stress the limits of secular knowledge and revamp a discourse around the role of faith, which the philosopher intertwined with sexuality (Glaube und Geschlecht).
For their exhibition at ar/ge kunst, the artists address the audience (the reader) unambiguously through new and recent productions that refer directly to Hamann’s enigmatic texts; a series of works that translates spatially his opaque writings and dedications.
In parallel with the exhibition, a series of lecture-performance by Slavs and Tatars will be presented by ar/ge kunst and Free University of Bolzano/Bozen, Faculty of Design and Art (May 18, 2018), OGR You Torino (May 22, 2018), and Liveworks/Centrale Fies (July 20, 2018).
With kind support of:
The Autonomous Province of South Tyrol, Department of Culture
Autonomous Region of Trentino-Alto Adige
Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio
City of Bolzano, Department of Culture