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IRWIN

One of the most attention-grabbing projects of the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) movement in the post-socialist 1990s was the State in Time project carried out primarily by Irwin. The first important point to be made here is that the NSK State in Time implied the absence of any kind of physical territory, and the second, that it operated through the virtualisation and transfer of national elements in a wholly temporal form in which cause and effect were not spatial but linked through information.

The NSK Embassy in Moscow was established in the context of the internationalisation of the important Eastern European phenomenon known as Apt-Art (Apartment-Art)–the producing and exhibiting of art in the private apartments of Moscow's underground circles. The Embassy project did not attempt to achieve equilibrium in the opposition between totalitarian ideology and the untainted "non-ideological" private sphere (although it did preserve something left over from the totalitarian style of claustrophobia), but rather it tried to actualise both spheres as two sides of the same coin (Slavoj Žižek's formulation), both of which will disappear in a post-socialist democracy.

NSK Embassies were realised in Moscow (1992) and Ghent (1993), and at the Berlin Volksbühne (1993). Consulates were opened at the Hotel Ambasciatori in Florence (1993) and in the kitchen of private gallery-owner Marino Cettina in Umag, Croatia (1994). From a historical viewpoint, the NSK Moscow Embassy and the NSK Umag Consulate were essentially and directly linked to the presentation of Irwin's projects in the mid-1980s, including Irwin's exhibition “Was ist Kunst?” (What is art?) held in a private apartment in Ljubljana in 1984. In this extreme utopia, Irwin's NSK Embassy means not only a break with analogy, but also a break with representational models on the basis of which we establish our certainty through similarity. This is also one possible way to understand the notion of the "mapping" of post-socialism.

 

M.G.

 

Dušan Mandič, Miran Mohar, Andrej Savski, Roman Uranjek, Borut Vogelnik

artist collective since 1983, Ljubljana / SL, at that time Jugoslavija

 

Please follow this link for a selected bibliography available at the ERSTE Foundation Library
IRWIN in front of NSK Embassy Moscow, photo artists archive, 1992
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