IRWIN’s “Back to the USA”
              Alenka Gregorič
              This fall, the IRWIN collective repeated their historic “Back to the USA” exhibition at Galerija Škuc in Ljubljana, where it was first shown to the Slovenian public in 1984. This new presentation of their work brought forth information about the collective that was largely unknown to the Slovenian and international public, and demonstrated how their practice spurred new ideas and a critical debate in the contemporary Slovenian art scene. In recent years, the collective has garnered international attention for, among other projects, their 2006 East Art Map: Contemporary Art and Eastern Europe, documenting seminal works and projects taking place in the region over the last fifty years. However, in order to grasp the significance of the restaging of their “Back to the USA” exhibition in the same gallery thirty years after its initial conception, one must consider the initiative’s basic facts, concepts, and starting points, which were a direct response to the existing conditions of artistic production in Slovenia. Artists Marko Kovačič, Dušan Mandić, Andrej Savski, Bojan Štokelj, Roman Uranjek, and Borut Vogelnik founded IRWIN in 1984; while Kovačič and Štokelj left the group early on, Miran Mohar subsequently joined and has remained a member to the present day. Within the …

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