Pickle bar sees in fermentation an analogy for the social transformation of the stagnate, the spoiled, or rotten political substance into a bracing regime to share the surplus fruits of souring. For the exhibition “When Red and White ain’t so Black and White” at Sentiment Slavs and Tatars’ Pickle Bar invites six former Belarusian participants of the studio’s mentorship program (2018-2020) to articulate an argument around these notions. Each of the invited artists investigates their epoch amidst the cult of personality, the tyranny of individualism and its repression on collective bodies. A white and red stork offers us a more generative take on the white and red flag, asking us to reconsider new symbols far from a reductive nationalist attitude, be they related to exhaustion, hospitality, club, or queer culture.
The work by Uladzimir Hramovich’s New Wind is built from the social imagination around the symbols of workers’ struggles. Sergey Shabohin’s video Mandrake Gartens looks at similarities between two synchronic movements of bodily resistance: the rave parties in Hasenheide park in Berlin during the first world lockdown and the first demonstrations in Minsk. Ala Savashevich’s Two Portret questions the ambivalence of displacement between feeling welcome and hopeless. Olia Sosnovskaya’s Incredibly relaxing meditation music investigates exhaustion as a contemporary practice referring to bodily energies, dynamics of the affect, the political dimension of stillness. Andrey Anro’s painting The Little Soldier shows the invisible faces of the male young figure of dictatorship embedded in the power machinery while Vasilisa Palianina’s Forest faces are inspired by the non-binary character of nature.
The Pickle Bar and Residency are two initiatives amongst others to open up Slavs and Tatars as a platform to the larger public, beyond the institutional framework of contemporary art. Launched in 2018, the mentorship program invites professionals (curators, artists, researchers) from Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe for a program bringing together theory, practice, discourse and production at Slavs and Tatars’ studio in Berlin. Pickle Bar is Slavs and Tatars’ Slavic aperitivo bar cum project space. Located a few doors from the collective’s studio in Berlin-Moabit, Pickle Bar invites writers, artists, scholars and others to investigate the limits of language and loose tongues within a decidedly fermented setting.