The story of the Slovenian artists’ collective starts in 1983 with the spontaneous collaboration between young artists from the punk and graffiti scenes in Ljubljana: Dušan Mandič, Miran Mohar, Andrej Savski, Roman Uranjek and Borut Vogelnik came together to found the group Rrose Irwin Sélavy, named in honour of the female pseudonym of Marcel Duchamp.
In 1984, in collaboration with the music group Laibach and the Gledališče sester Scipion Nasice theatre company, they founded a broader artists’ collective, known as Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK, i.e. New Slovenian Art), which was later to draw in other artists’ collectives ranging from graphics and video art to philosophy and in 1992 Neue Slowenische Kunst was turned into the NSK State in Time.
For IRWIN, symbols may take on different meanings and connotations in different places and moments through an analysis of their origins. Their work, distinguished by their sharp wit and a pronounced sense of ambiguity, expresses a complex and subtle connection between art and ideology.
IRWIN has taken part in projects presented at Manifesta 9 in Genk (2012) and the 50th Venice Biennale (2003) and many others exhibitions such as: Hans in Luck - Art and Capital, Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg (2014); Former West, HKW, Berlin (2013); A Bigger Splash, Tate Modern, London (2012-13); NSK Passport Office, MoMA Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012); The Global Contemporary. The Art Worlds after 1989, ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (2011-12); The International, MACBA, Barcelona (2011); The Promises of the Past, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010); State in Time, Kunsthalle Krems (2009); Here Is Every, MoMA Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008–09); NSK Passport Holders, Taipei Biennial, Taipei Art Museum (2008); Birds of a Feather, Akbank Art Center, Istanbul (2006–07); Collective Creativity, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2005); IRWIN: Retroprincip 1983–2003, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2003).
The members of the group live and work in Ljubljana.
Credit line: IRWIN, Sower, 1996. Photo: Bojan Brecelj. Courtesy Galerija Gregor Podnar