Slavs and Tatars: MERCZbau
May 5, 2022 – October 7, 2022
Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue
MERCZbau revisits the intertwined histories of the Ukrainian city of Lviv and the Polish city of Wroclaw as seen through the prism of a particularly eastern Orientalism. The Berlin-based artist collective Slavs and Tatars have created a speculative range of merchandising dedicated to the defunct Department of Oriental Studies of what was once known as the Jan Kazimierz University of Lwow, acting as if age-old traditions of scholarship and inquiry about “the East” had survived the Polish population’s forcible westward journey after World War II. The exhibition’s title alludes to German Dadaist Kurt Schwitters’ landmark sculpture Merzbau, a room-sized installation that was destroyed in World War II. MERCZbau thus offers a reflection on the human drama of migration as well as the shifting meanings of our enduring East/West divides, made so much more poignant by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.