March 30, 2012 - Calvert 22 Gallery - IRWIN and NSK Folk Art
March 30, 2012

IRWIN and NSK Folk Art

“Transcentrala New York, Moscow, Ljubljana,”
1992–1997. “Cross (New York)”.
Black and white photograph by Leslie Fratkin.
Courtesy the artists and Galerija Gregor Podnar

IRWIN – Time for a New State
NSK Folk Art
4 April–24 June 2012

22 Calvert Avenue
London E2 7JP
Nearest Tube: 
Shoreditch High St / Old St / Liverpool St
Wednesday–Sunday: 12–6pm
Admission free

+44 (0) 20 7613 2141
info [​at​]

Calvert 22 presents two concurrent exhibitions exploring the work of the most influential art movement from the Balkan region in the latter half of the 20th century – Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK).

NSK was established in the early 80s in what was then Yugoslavia, by founding member groups Laibach, IRWIN and Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre. Concerned with the political unrest in the region at the time as well as issues of national identity, NSK’s cross-disciplinary projects encompassed theatre, music, painting, literature, philosophy, design and performance breaking through the limitations of the visual arts, reaching into society at large.

TIME FOR A NEW STATE will be the first major UK exhibition of IRWIN, the visual arts component of NSK, founded in Ljubljana in 1983. IRWIN‘s work is primarily concerned with the complexity of the image and the idea that an image is never neutral, nor is the space it is shown in. In its artistic projects, IRWIN has been extensively involved with the art history of Europe, in particular with the dialectic of the avant-garde and totalitarianism. This ambitious exhibition marks the twentieth anniversary of IRWIN’s seminal NSK Moscow Embassy project and includes a special adaptation of Transnacionala (1996), Kapital (1991) an early work in the Wast Ist Kunst? series, as well as East Art Map which seeks to redress the persistent exclusion of contemporary Eastern European Art from the canon of modernism. The exhibition uniquely extends into the public realm via a specially commissioned IRWIN artwork on the Elephant & Castle roundabout—a billboard ambiguously pointing to the notion of The State In Time.

Concurrently, the downstairs exhibition space of Calvert 22 will house a selection of NSK Folk Art, a diverse collection of artworks and artefacts created by the citizens of the NSK State in Time. This virtual state, formed in 1992, today contains over fourteen thousand citizens from Dublin and Taipei to Sarajevo and New York, unified by the possession of an NSK passport and a willingness to actively contribute to the growing and ever-expanding initiatives of the NSK State organised globally. Works on display include NSK passports, stamps, plates and films made by the NSK state members.

The season at Calvert 22 is a component of a unique four-part presentation of NSK in co-operation with Chelsea Space, Tate Modern and UCL.

IRWIN – TIME FOR A NEW STATE and NSK FOLK ART are curated by Lina Džuverović and are accompanied by an in-depth publication, digital resources and an extensive events programme.

Events Highlights:

NSK Passport Office/Issuing of NSK Passports
Opening speech by Peter Mlakar (NSK Department of Pure and Applied Philosophy)
Private View, Tuesday 3 April, 6–8.30pm

Neue Slowenische Kunst – Retrogarde Reading Group 
Every other Wednesday from 11 April–20 June inclusive, 7pm

IRWIN in Context: Zdenka Badovinac and Eda Čufer in Conversation with IRWIN
Friday 13 April, 7pm

Screening and Talk: Predictions of Fire (1996), directed by Michael Benson 
Followed by a discussion with Chris Bohn, Editor, The Wire Magazine.
Thursday 26 April, 7pm

Events presented in collaboration with the History of Art Department, University College London:
20-year anniversary of NSK Moscow Embassy: Viktor Misiano in conversation
Thursday 10 May, 7pm

Self-historicisation as Artistic Practice: The Case of IRWIN
Workshop with Saša Nabergoj (SCCA Ljubljana)
Friday 1 June, 10am–5.30pm

Archive as Strategy: Conversations about Self-historicisation across the East
Symposium – East Art Map: History is Not Given. Please Help to Construct It
Saturday 2 June, 2–6pm, University College London
Speakers: Charles Esche, Gediminas Gasparavičius, IRWIN, Saša Nabergoj, Milena Tomić and Jonah Westerman.

For more details on events please visit our website

About Calvert 22
CALVERT 22 is the UK’s only not-for-profit foundation dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art and culture from Russia, CIS countries and Eastern Europe and presents a dynamic programme of exhibitions, talks and cross-disciplinary events.

Founded by Nonna Materkova, a Russian born, London based economist in May 2009 in Shoreditch, East London, Calvert 22 has subsequently achieved widespread critical and public acclaim. Its mission is to create a unique platform, through imaginative and active presentations, for the very best in current art and culture from the former ‘Eastern Bloc’, whilst being a catalyst for new possibilities of cross-cultural understanding and exchange.

IRWIN and NSK Folk Art at Calvert 22
Calvert 22 Gallery
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