Slovenian music and cross-media group Laibach – describing themselves as ‘engineers of human souls’ – present a multi-media show recreating moments key from their history in the early 1980s to the future, in a performance specially designed for the Turbine Hall.
Laibach was formed in 1980 shortly after the death of Marshall Josip Broz Tito, the Yugoslavian post-war leader who had spent his political career establishing principles of non-alignment within the communist world and wider. In reaction to the political unrest, Laibach – whose name comes from the historic German name for the Slovene capital – formed their own self-styled ‘totalitarian’ group whose activities provoked strong reactions from the former Yugoslavian authorities as well as in Europe and the States.
The group developed a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ in the form of a multi-disciplinary art practice in all fields including collages, graphics, posteres, paintings, videos, installations, concerts and performances. Laibach simultaneously combines references to avant-garde art history, early twentieth-century socialist realism and popular culture, whilst emphasising the idea of ‘de-individualisation’ in their public performances (as an anonymous quartet dressed in ‘uniforms’) interweaving conceptual proclamations into their forceful sonic stage performances, often labelled as industrial ‘pop’ music. They have invented – and greatly defined – the historical term ‘retro-avant-garde’ and creatively questioned artistic quotation, appropriation, re-contextualisation and copyright.