• Poetry & Performance / The Eastern European Perspective
    22 December 2017 − 10 March 2018

    Nová synagóga, Žilina, Slovakia Poetry & Performance / The Eastern European Perspective 22/12/17 –  10/03/18 Loans by Kontakt: Vlado Martek: Ciklus Soneti / Sonnet Cycle, 1978-79 Raša Todosijević: Znak / Sign, 1971; Skulptura / Sculpture, 1971; Was ist Kunst, Patricia Hennings? / What is Art, Patricia Hennings?, 1976; Was ist Kunst, Marinela Koželj? / What is Art, Marinela Koželj?, 1978 Tamás St. Auby: Kentaur / Centaur, 1973-1975/ 2009 Curators: Sabine Hänsgen, Tomáš Glanc, Daniel Grúň Nová synagóga in Žilina presents the exhibition Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective curated by Tomáš Glanc, Daniel Grúň and Sabine Hänsgen. The exhibition brings together more than forty artists, poets and creative groups from the countries of the former Eastern Europe as well as contemporary artistic positions. The exhibition will be opened on December 22nd from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. by a series of several performances and will run until March 10th 2018. In the second half of the twentieth century, poets and artists in particular took up the challenge of reflecting on and investigating the instrumentalization of language for communicative and political-ideological purposes. They did so by drawing attention to the “made-ness” of language, its material and medial dimension, and by creating performative situations for themselves and their audiences within which possibilities of verbal expression could be tested and acted out. In Eastern Europe, poetry and performance played a significant role in the unofficial or partially tolerated cultural scene. The writing practice of samizdat and its relation to the devices of concrete and visual poetry have been treated and presented in a number of previous projects. Until now however, less consideration has been given to the circumstances of performance. In addition to the typescript literature of samizdat, subcultural milieus attached particular importance to the oral recitation of poems, exhibitions, and poetry actions. The interrelation between text and situation in poetic acts functioned as a trigger for performances and happenings. The exhibition presents authors from subcultures in socialist states along with contemporary positions that continue the legacy of combining poetry and performance. It shows the efforts of poets and artists to break free from controlled language and normative communicative now and then. Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective thus confronts the current social challenges in the post-socialist countries through the prism of language and ideology and looks back at their points of departure. Artists: Milan Adamčiak, Pavel Arsenev, Babi Badalov, Bosch+Bosch (Attila Csernik, Slavko Matković, László Szalma), Collective Actions Group, Ľubomír Ďurček, Else Gabriel / Via Lewandowsky, Rimma Gerlovina, Tomislav Gotovac, Group of Six Artists, Bohumila Grögerová / Josef Hiršal, Gino Hahnemann, Václav Havel, Jörg Herold, Semyon Khanin (Orbita), Kinship Moho (Zuzana Jasenková, Kristína Országhová, Magdaléna Scheryová), Dávid Koronczi, Katalin Ladik, Yuri Leiderman / Andrey Silvestrov, Vlado Martek, Andrei Monastyrski, Monogramista T.D, Ladislav Novák, Pavel Novotný, NSRD (Hardijs Lediņš, Juris Boiko, Imants Žodžiks), OHO Group (Nuša & Srečo Dragan, Naško Križnar), Boris Ondreička, Orange Alternative, Roman Osminkin, Ewa Partum, Bogdanka Poznanović, Dmitri Prigov, Lev Rubinstein, Nóra Ružičková / Marianna Mlynárčiková, Mladen Stilinović, Gabriele Stötzer, Tamás Szentjóby, Bálint Szombathy, Raša Todosijević, Jaromír Typlt, Jiří Valoch. Nová synagóga, Žilina, Slovakia J. M. Hurbana 220/11, 010 01 Wednesday — Sunday, 1 p.m. — 7 p.m. free entry (voluntary)


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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 virtualization 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 internationalization 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 actualize 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 realized 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.


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

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

The group IRWIN was founded in 1983 and at first called Rrose Irwin Sélavy. In 1984, together with the musical group Laibach and the Scipion Našice Sisters Theater, IRWIN created the collective “Neue Slowenische Kunst” - NSK (New Slovenian Art). Soon after its founding, the group had shortened the name to R Irwin S. and, after forming the larger collective, to IRWIN. In 1987 the group gave an official statement on their activity in form of the text “The Future is the seed of the past”. IRWIN’s members presented their work to the collective for approval. Afterwards they were stamped with the group’s monogram.

Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2017 “NSK State Pavilion", Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy &, Vienna, Austria

2010 “IRWIN“, Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, Switzerland

2009 “IRWIN: What is Art“, Kalmar Konstmuseum, Kalmar, Sweden

2008 “Black Square on the Red Square“, Institute of Contemporary Art, Sofia, Bulgaria

2007 “History Re-constructed“, Culturgest, Lisabon, Portugal

2006 “East Art Map“, Collegium Artisticum, Sarajevo, Bosnia und Herzegovina

2005 “Like to Like“, Gheto, Split, Croatia

2004 “Hysteria and two of her female friends“, Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2003 “Retroprinciple“, Museum of Modern Art, Belgrade, Serbia

2002 “Sound Icons“, Bonomo Gallery, Rome, Italy

Group Exhibitions (selected):

2011 “The Global Contemporary. The Art World after 1989“, ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany

2010 “Things Evokes Feelings“, Center for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland

2009 “Europe XXL“, Tripostal, Lille, France

2008 “Kontakt … Works from the Art Collection of Erste Bank Group“, Institute of Contemporary Art, Dunaújvàros, Hungary

2007 “Kontakt Belgrade. Works from the Collection of Erste Bank Group“, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia

2005 “Collective Creativity“, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany

2004 “The Post_Communist Condition“, Kunst-Werke, Berlin, Germany

2003 “Individual Systems“, 50th Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy

2002 “(Un)painted“, Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austria

This bibliography provides a list of books available in the
ERSTE Foundation Library

Books/Exhibition Catalogues


Hisrich, Robert D., Peters, Michael P., Shepherd, Dean A. 2010. Entrepreneurship. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.


IRWIN, ed. 2006. East art map: contemporary art and Eastern Europe. London: Afterall Book.


Arns, Inke, ed. 2003. Irwinretroprincip, 1983-2003. Frankfurt: Revolver [Exhib. Cat., Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Sep. 26-Oct. 26, 2003), Karl-Ernst-Osthaus-Museum Hagen (Nov. 15, 2003-Jan. 4, 2004), Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade (Apr. 17-May 17, 2004)]


IRWIN, ed. 2002. East art map. Ljubljana: Sakan Dragan.



Other Media


Buden, Boris. 2006. Single Talks. Boris Buden in conversation with IRWIN, Katrin Klingan, Piotr Piotrowski. Vienna: Zone. 1 DVD (60 min.)


Brunner-Szabo, Eva, Lampalzer, Gerda Lampalzer, eds. Gržinić/Šmid: A Selection of Videos Works 1990-2003. Vienna: Arge index (Index DVD Edition; 005), 1 DVD.

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