Saturday, 2016

Slavs and Tatars

Slavs and Tatars, Saturday, 2016, vacuum-formed plastic, 25 ¼ x 35 ¾ in. Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School, 2016.12. © Slavs and Tatars.

The vacuum-formed plastic reliefs in this series by the artist collective Slavs and Tatars (founded 2005) reanimate the Poêmes industriels by Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers, alluding to their manufacture as well as their play with language. These dynamic compositions illustrate overlaps in fields such as language, history, and media from origins commonly considered unrelated. Saturday refers to the Hebrew scriptures (called Tanakh) in which slaves were emancipated in their seventh year—the Saturday or Shabbat year—after six years of labor. Overlapping triangular sixes form a Star of David at the center, each accompanied by “+” and “1” to signify seven. This arrangement is flanked on either side by the word manumission, which was the act or document emancipating a slave, expressed in Greek on the left, and translated into the Hebrew alphabet on the right.