Was ist Kunst, IRWIN?

09. September 2023 - 28. January 2024 Dortmunder U, Level 3

The exhibition focuses on the Slovenian artist collective IRWIN, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2023. In addition, IRWIN was also one of the founders of the meta-collective Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) in 1984 together with the music group Laibach, the theater Sester Scipion Nasice and the design department Novi kolektivizem.

Since 1983 IRWIN has been dealing with the history of art in Eastern Europe, specifically with the ambivalent legacy of the historical avant-garde and its totalitarian successors, that is, with the dialectic of avant-garde and totalitarianism. Since the 1990s, the group has concentrated on critically questioning the art history of "Western Modernism". It contrasts this with the "retroavantgarde" - an "eastern modernism". In the 2000s, the NSK State in Time founded in 1992 parallel to Slovenia's independence becomes relevant: a state without territory and state nation, but which issues passports as "confirmation of temporal space".

The exhibition focuses on the black humor that is always present in the group's works, on their engagement with art history up to the founding of their own state - and how IRWIN thus comments on current issues such as migration.

A "sourcebook" will be published to accompany the exhibition, systematically breaking down the pictorial sources of IRWIN's works and classifying them in (art) historical terms.

Curated by Inke Arns and Thibaut de Ruyter


Credit: IRWIN, The Sower (1996). Photo: Bojan Brecelj.

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