Neue Slowenische Kunst were an important artist collective formed in the 1980s in Slovenia comprising three core groups; the painting collective Irwin, the artist-musicians Laibach, the theatre group Scipion Nasice Sisters and the design group New Collectivism. NSK’s name is the German translation of ‘New Slovenian Art’. Their work addressed the social and political situation in Slovenia, during a period of great turmoil as it was undergoing separation from the former Yugloslavia. As such their work forms a lens through which to view the history of the social and political evolution of the country at this time – in particular, the complex relationship between culture and national identity within a place that had been repeatedly occupied. Conceived as a form of ‘gesamtkunstwerke’ their work – whether as painting, music performance, theatre or design – manifests an evolution of the notion of ‘appropriation’ in art. Slavoj Zizek characterised their attitude as one of provocative ‘overidentification’ with the repressed ‘obscene superego’ of the state: as the performatively inhabiting structures implying power (whether they are gestures of military authority, canonical artworks or political propaganda).
Acknowledging the significance of this unique aesthetic and political collective emerging the 1980s, and their increasing relevance to the strategies of activism, collectivism and alternative distribution systems for many artists of the subsequent generation, Tate Modern will present a day of lectures, screenings and conversations. Investigating the complexity of NSK’s role by linking it to the wider trajectory of Eastern and Central European art history, the event will attempt to consider the collective as a whole for the first time, and invite each artist group to speak and present archive material. The event will also feature a ‘retrospective’ concert by Laibach in the Turbine Hall in which elements of early performances from 1982 onwards will be reperformed for the first time.
Organised by Catherine Wood, Curator (Contemporary Art / Performance), Kathy Noble, Curator (Interdisciplinary Projects) Tate Modern, with Dr Anthony Gardner and Lina Dzuverovic, Calvert 22, assisted by Loren Hansi Momodu, Assistant Curator.
10.30–11.00 Eda Čufer: You Name It! Over-identification, Temporary Hegemonic Zone, Stiob,
11.10–11.45 Anthony Gardner: Impossible Dialogues
While the work of Neue Slowenische Kunst is often considered through the prism of the Gesamtkunstwerk, the role of sound, voice and dialogue is just as often ignored. This talk will link these practices through an aesthetic of impossible dialogues: with history, the state and each other.
11.45–13.00 Alexei Monroe: Stations of the Laibach Cross
Alexei Monroe and Laibach discuss the group’s history, methodologies and key moments in its history.
14.00–14.30 Zdenka Badovinac: Neues Slowenisches Museum
14.30–14.45 Irwin: NSK Embassy Moscow
15.45–17.00 Dr. Jela Krečič: Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre: The Theatre of the Living Concept
Dragan Živadinov: Levitation construction
17.00–17.45 Round table artists discussion moderated by Klara Kemp-Welch
19.00–20.00 Alexei Monroe: Art in Crisis/Art of Crisis - Totalitarian Perspectives 1984-2012
21.30–00.00 Laibach: Monumental Retro-avant-garde-Turbine Hall
In cooperation with Calvert 22, Chelsea space and The Courtauld Institute of Art
Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in UK and Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia
Acknowledgements: Adrian Hardwicke, Tracey Ferguson, Capucine Perrot, Steve Wald, Donald Smith