Slavs and Tatars

Slavs and Tatars

Gallery 2: Made in Germany

September 18 – October 22, 2016

Slavs and Tatars_Reverse Dschihad (Arabic and Russian)_Installation view

Slavs and Tatars

Language Arts

March 17 - April 17, 2014

Slavs and Tatars_Language Arts_2014_Installation view 1

Slavs and Tatars - Language Arts

The Third Line is pleased to present Language Arts, Slavs and Tatars’ first solo show in the Middle East. Following a run of internationally acclaimed museum shows and publications, the artists’ performative use of language takes a new turn, with an exploration of alphabet politics.

Slavs and Tatars’ recent work turns to language as a source of political, metaphysical, even sexual emancipation. With their trademark mix of high and low registers, ribald humor and esoteric discourse, the collective addresses the thorny issue of alphabet politics and attempts by nations, cultures, and ideologies to ascribe a specific set of letters to a given language.

The march of alphabets has always accompanied that of empires and religions: Latin script along with the Roman Catholic faith; Arabic with Islam and the Caliphate; as well as Cyrillic with Orthodox Christianity, and subsequently the USSR. Within this body of work, it is not peoples or nations that are liberated, but rather phonemes, from attempts to restrain and rein them in.

Language Arts celebrates language in all its polyphonic glory, with original works in Persian, Russian, Turkish, Georgian and English. A new series of sculptures, installations, textiles and printed matter address a range of subjects: from name changes, in Love Me Love Me Not, to the orality of language, with Rahlé for Richard. The Trannie Tease vacuum forms present transliteration ­– the conversion of scripts ­–as the linguistic equivalent of transvestism: a strategy equally of resistance and research in notions of identity politics, colonialism, and liturgical reform. The Love Letters carpets address the issue of manipulation of alphabets across Arabic, Latin and Cyrillic, through the Russian Revolution’s most well-known, if conflicted, poet-champion, Vladimir Mayakovsky.

Slavs and Tatars often collide those things considered opposites, or incompatible — be it Islam and Communism, metaphysics and humor, or pop culture and geopolitics. From their first publication Kidnapping Mountains (Book Works, 2009) to the more recent Khhhhhhh (Mousse/Moravian Gallery 2012), the collective has consistently turned to language as a tool for disruption, humor, and unexpected meaning. By challenging an understanding of language as exclusively rational or semantic, Slavs and Tatars emphasize its potential to be affective and sensual, concealing as much as it reveals; even becoming a platform for sacred wisdom, rather than a mere vehicle for secular knowledge or profane, everyday use.

The Third Line show will open parallel to Marker, the artists’ curatorial début, focused on Central Asia and the Caucasus, at Art Dubai.

Group Show


September 12 - October 27, 2011


Artists: Abbas Akhavan, Huda Lutfi, Arwa Abouon, Amir H. Fallah, Fouad Elkoury, Farhad Moshiri, Hassan Hajjaj, Laleh Khorramian, Slavs and Tatars, Susan Hefuna, Youssef Nabil

To begin the fall season, The Third Line invites guest curator Rami Farook to continue a conversation about the state of the world today. Comprising of works from The Third Line, Traffic and The Farook Collection and exhibiting at the two spaces, the show attempts to question and discuss the state of the contemporary environment through artistic representations depicting social behavior, ecology and psychology.

THE STATE: SOCIAL / ANTISOCIAL? is inspired by and, a continuation from, previous shows at Traffic also titled ‘the state’. This exhibition resumes a dialogue explored earlier in shows held at Traffic: THE STATE(2010), the inaugural exhibition, questioned the socio-political state post September 11; anTHE STATE: UPPERS & DOWNERS(2011) ran a commentary on the global condition, from an economic perspective, with the city of Dubai as a focal point. This third installment of investigation combines works from the collection of The Third Line, Traffic and The Farook Collection, and is exhibited at both galleries to connect the conversations previously limited to one physical space. 

Group Show

Snail Fever

June 22 - July 28, 2011


Curated by Sara Mameni, this exhibition includes works by Abbas Akhavan, Fatima Al Qadiri and Khalid al Gharaballi, Ala Ebtekar, Haris Epaminonda, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Rayyane Tabet, Slavs and Tatars and Newsha Tavakolian.

This exhibition is about music - especially the kind that goes viral. The artists in the show think about music epidemically. They invoke musicians who never die or those who become alive only through death. They present the body of musicians in their absence, in their disembodiments and in their replacements with the curved neck of the gramophone or the magnetic cones of a boombox. They confront us with the fictionality of icons, projecting our own inadequate selves within it.  Music here is made visual, scaled into words and images, haunted by the specter of the voice.