Lektor, by art collective Slavs and Tatars, was part of a new body of work that explored Mirrors for Princes – a medieval form of advice literature intended for future rulers, that gave advice pertaining to good leadership on subjects such as grooming, speech, education and belief. The artists located contemporary parallels to these texts in relation to spin doctoring and society’s interest in self-help books, such as How to Marry a Millionaire and How to Lose 15kgs in 15 Days.
The exhibition centred on a multi-channel audio installation, featuring excerpts from an influential 11th century Turkic Mirror for Princes, Kutadgu Bilig (Wisdom of Royal Glory). The original Uighur text, which offers advice on the power and pitfalls of the tongue, was played alongside translations into Turkish, German, Polish, Arabic and Scottish Gaelic. Drawing on the ‘Gavrilov’ voice-over technique, the work creates a disruptive experience, touching on issues of legibility and authenticity. Slavs and Tatars’ multi-disciplinary practice encompassing research, installation, lecture-performances and print media is often focussed on language and its conditions of translation, enactment and resonance.
Mirrors for Princes, a new publication by Slavs and Tatars and edited by Anthony Downey, was produced as part of the co-commission.
Lektor was a co-commission with Kunsthalle Zurich, NYU Abu Dhabi, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, and Blaffer Art Gallery, the University of Houston.
This is an archived programme entry.