Walker Shop

Köfte Kitab Kebab by Slavs & Tatars

Köfte Kitab Kebab
Slavs & Tatars

Slavs and Tatars—a "faction of polemics and intimacies devoted to an area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia"— began primarily as a reading group, and in that way, books have remained central to their practice ever since. The diverse body of work that they have created in various media—sculptures, lectures, installations, audio pieces, etc—can in essence be understood as an effort to bring people back to the book. "The challenge for all of us is to reclaim that collective idea of reading in a way that really activates both a sense of a community but also shared experiences and a different approach to the text," says Slavs & Tatars. "To some extent, what we are seeing today with the book is a process of rarefaction and preciousness, and the question for artists is how to reclaim the collective aspect of reading without falling prey to purely formal indulgences or socioeconomic privilege."

To that end, Slavs & Tatars would like to propose a unique experience based upon their previous work Kitab Kebab, a sculpture that takes the form of skewered books. "The mashed-up reading list proposes a lateral or transversal approach to knowledge, an attempt to combine the rigor of the more traditionally-inclined vertical forms of knowledge (e.g. typically associated with the Russian or German mind) with the range of the horizontal (as typified by the Anglo-American liberal arts education).  A traditional ground-beef (köfte) kebab skewer pierces through a selection of the books, suggesting not only an analytical but also an affective and digestive relationship with text. The beautiful thing about books are that they never end, they have a sort of talismanic quality in the sense that it depends on who picks up a book where, what time in their lives, what moment in that time."

For their Intangible, Slavs & Tatars will return to their reading group roots in an effort to 
redeem, in some small way, reading as a collective activity, as it has existed for the majority of history. They will travel to the home or office of the buyer and spend a day or two with him/her, diving into their library, conversing with the buyer about certain texts, drawing connections between lines of thought, investigating the nature of the buyer's interests, and sharing their process. Upon the completion of the reading group, they will choose 2 to 3 of the buyer's books with the eventual aim of incorporating them into the Kebab sculpture. Upon returning to Berlin with the buyer's books, they will continue the discussion remotely, and choose the remaining volumes to be skewered from their personal collection. The purchase price covers travel and accommodation costs for the artists, and the personalized reading group experience. The sculpture—as the form that frames the nature of the interaction, and a by-product of the newly formed relationship between the artists and the buyer—will also belong to the buyer.

This is an edition of 1.
Shipping and crating costs for the Kebab sculpture are not included in the purchase price.
For more information, contact the Walker Shop.


Slavs & Tatars