In keeping with the interest of viennacontemporary in ongoing research within the CEE region, this year’s Focus section will not revolve around the invited guest country, but will rather concentrate on the question: What is the experience of a state that is not based on territory, but on time? Based on the phenomenon “NSK State in Time”, the presentation tries to challenge the idea that art has to be represented in the realm of a nation-state.
Living in the time of destructive declaration of nationalism, fascism, and xenophobia, the question of
traversing territorial borders, as introduced through the idea of “NSK State in Time”, is probably equally relevant today as it was in the time of its formation, a few years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In their work, the invited artists tackle questions of the human condition, social relations, and exchange – the same questions that were part of the core idea and interest when the concept of “State in Time” was born in 1992. One of the State’s foundational texts, “The Institutionalization of Friendship” by Viktor Misiano, proposes friendship and informal networks as the most direct type of social communication, not established through formalized procedures, but through the rhythm discovered by the participants when they listen to each other.
Based on this idea, the Focus presentation revolves around artistic practices that propose resistance against the idea of territorial boundaries and subsequently expand the spectators’ awareness and critical thinking on topics such as memory and existing geopolitical paradigms. The gaze of so-called ‘engaged’ artistic practices always focuses on the ‘otherness’ of the image of dominant ideologies, thereby opening up the possibility for the necessary critical reflection of society. This ‘other’ gaze definitely exists in the context of the invited artists.
The complexity of the works that correspond with each other, confronts the viewer with various questions that are inherent in our social reality, but also convey the artist’s firm position, which is never indifferent but always demonstrates a strong declaration on a particular socio-political issue – this, too, symbolically represents the values and ideas introduced through the idea of the State in Time at the time of its creation.
Focus: NSK State in Time | Curator: Tevž Logar | Booth: E24 | F25
In the 1980s, the Slovenian visual arts scene within Yugoslavia began to open up and new phenomena
began to emerge. Part of this trend and one of the engines driving new artistic paradigms was the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) movement, which was established in 1984 by the groups Laibach, IRWIN, and Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre. The cooperation between the groups in the NSK movement resulted in projects with complex and conceptual media structures, openly flirting with the historical avant-gardes of the 20th century, while revealing a new understanding of art and society of the time. The projects of the NSK movement have become famous examples of a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, where theatre, music, visual arts, literature, and design meet.
A transformation of the movement, or rather the next level, was the formation of the NSK State in Time in 1992 in response to the political shifts and radical changes in Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe. It was
created as a conceptual art project by the groups comprising the Slovene collective Neue Slowenische
Kunst (NSK). Amongst others, these included the groups IRWIN, Laibach, Cosmokinetical Cabinet
Noordung, New Collectivism, and the Department of Pure and Applied Philosophy. Although it does not
offer any permanent territory, the »State in Time« is now the virtual home of over 15,000 citizens
worldwide, including many artists. The state issues passports and provides citizens with rights of
participation, inviting open-ended actions to formulate their self-constitution, currency, education systems, religion, production of folk culture, and other state functions.
The artists exhibited include: Julieta Aranda & Anton Vidokle, Burak Arikan & Ahmet Ögüt, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Danica Dakić, Vadim Fishkin, IRWIN, Ištvan Išt Huzjan, Laibach, Ilona Németh, Alban Muja, Adrian Paci, Lia Perjovschi, Mladen Stilinović, New Collectivism, Jaan Toomik, Ulay, Tadej Vaukman and Živadinov Dragan.
Lia Perjovschi is a founder and coordinator of CAA CAA (Contemporary Art Archive and Centre for Art Analysis) an organic work-in-progress project (under different names since 1985) and KM (Knowledge Museum, an interdisciplinary research project from 1999-today). Her activity can be summarised as a journey from her physical body to the universal body of knowledge and was shown in more then 500 exhibitions, lectures, workshops around the world, while her artistic practice comprises various media, from performance to assemblage, from drawing and text to site-specific installations of objects, facts, diagrams, mind maps and timelines.
ULAY the pseudonym of Frank Uwe Laysiepen, the legendary artist not only famous for his collaboration with Marina Abramović, but also as a solo artist in search for his identity, whose radical works have pushed the limits of photography and performance. His work, along with his many collaborations with Abramović, is featured in collections of major institutions around the world, including the Stedelijk Museum, Centre Georges Pompidou, Kunstmuseum Bern, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Ulay currently lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The IRWIN group was founded in Ljubljana (Slovenia) in 1983. Its members are Dusan Mandić, Miran Mohar, Andrej Savski, Roman Uranjek and Borut Vogelnik. IRWIN, along with the music group Laibach (1980), the theatre group Gledališče sester Scipion Nasice (1983), later known as the Kozmokinetični kabinet Noordung, and the design department Novi kolektivizem, comprises one of the core groups within the artists’ collective Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK), established in 1984 in the Slovenian Republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. IRWIN is committed to the so-called ‘retro-principle’ which is “not a style or an art trend but a principle of thought, a way of behaving and acting”(IRWIN).
Tadej Vaukman is an independent artist, photographer and publisher. In his predominantly photographic-based artistic practice he often follows the principles of rough documentary photography through which he documents and comments on topical phenomena from the margins of society and shows unembellished images of the world, here and now. In 2015, he released his debut photobook entitled Dick Skinners (Rrostfrei Publishing) that autobiographically documents his coexistence within a hybrid skater community. He lives and works in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Danica Dakić‘s scope of work extends from video and film to photography and installation. Her work has been widely exhibited internationally. Selected solo museum exhibitions have taken place at the Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg (2017), Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main (2013), Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011), Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (2010), Generali Foundation, Vienna (2010), and Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2009). She is professor at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. Dakić currently lives in Düsseldorf and Weimar.
Ahmet Öğüt, born in 1981 in Diyarbakır, Turkey, is a sociocultural initiator, artist, and lecturer who lives and works in Berlin and Amsterdam. He is the initiator of the Initiator of The Silent University, which is an autonomous knowledge exchange platform by refugees, asylum seekers.
Burak Arikan is a New York and Istanbul based artist who works with complex networks. He investigates societal issues and develops his findings into abstract machinery, which generates network maps and algorithmic interfaces, results in performances, and procreates predictions to render inherent power relationships visible and discussable.
Ištvan Išt Huzjan was born on June 1st 1981 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. In 2005 he graduated from the Accademia di belle arti di Venezia in Italy. He registered his own book-publishing house 21st Century Books in 2006. In 2009 he finished the artist in residency program Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam and finished several other residencies between 2010 and 2015, amongst them the National Art Studio in Changdong in Seoul and Apartment of the Ministry of Culture of Slovenia in New York. In 2010 he cofounded the artist collective Project Goleb in Amsterdam.
Mladen Stilinović was one of the leading figures of Conceptual Art and the New Art Practice in Central and Eastern Europe. The engagement with language and its relationship to ideology, a continuous interest in various elements of everyday life, as well as the investigation of work and the role of the artist in capitalist societies are central topics of his art practice. Before his appearance on the Croatian visual art scene in mid-1970’s, he had been involved in poetry and experimental film (since 1969). He started to show his art together with his artist friends, joined in the Group of Six Artists (1975-1979), by organizing exhibitions – actions in the street and in galleries.
NEW COLLECTIVISM (NK) was established in 1984 as the graphic design department of Neue Slowenische Kunst. The members are Dejan Knez (Laibach), Miran Mohar (Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre, Irwin), Darko Pokorn (New Collectivism), and Roman Uranjek (Irwin). “New Collectivism” designs posters, records covers, books, passports and NSK letterheads. Its designs for Laibach merchandising won an award at the 1994 Ljubljana Biennial of Industrial Design (BIO), and it has also overseen the main designs for construction of the NSK State website.
Jaan Toomik is an acknowledged Estonian painter, video and performance artist, who recently got more and more involved in film. Having gained recognition as a painting student in the late 1980s, his practice shifted towards installation and performance art after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Toomik gained international recognition primarily for his video works such as “Dancing Home” (1995), and “Father and Son” (1998). The artist has exhibitied widely, both at home and abroad, where he has participated in the first Manifesta (1996), 4th Berlin contemporary art biennial (2006) and represented Estonia at the Venice Biennial twice, in 1997 and 2003.
Vadim Fishkin lived in Moscow until 1996; he currently lives and works in Ljubljana. He studied at the Moscow Institute of Architecture, from which he graduated in 1986. His work explores the relationships between science, personal experience, desire, and the imagination, between metaphysics and pragmatism, and between the artificial and the real. The artist succeeds in uncovering subtle connections that arouse viewers’ curiosity, yet leaves them guessing about the ultimate meaning. Fishkin’s main area of investigation is science and its study methods as he uses technological advances for essentially poetic purposes and many of his installations, sculptures, photographs, and drawings are informed by his distinctive sense of humor.
Laibach is a cross-media collective formation from Slovenia, founded in 1980 in the industrial mining town Trbovlje. The name Laibach (German for the capital city Ljubljana) as well as the group’s ‘militant’ self-stylisation, propagandist manifestos and statements have raised numerous debates on their artistic and political positioning. Many theorists, among them Slavoj Žižek, have extensively discussed the Laibach-phenomenon. The main elements of Laibach’s varied practices are: strong references to historic avant-garde, as well as Nazi-kunst and socialist realism, de-individualisation in their public actions as anonymous quartet, conceptual proclamations, and forceful sonic stage performances – mostly labelled as industrial and neoclassical pop music, but their artistic strategy also carries a lot of humour and tactics of persiflage and disinformation.
Central to Julieta Aranda’s practice are her involvement with circulation mechanisms and the idea of a “poetics of circulation”; her interest in science-fiction, space travel and zones of friction; the possibility of a politicized subjectivity through the perception and use of time, and the notion of power over the imaginary. Julieta Aranda’s work spans installation, video, and print media, with a special interest in the creation and manipulation of artistic exchange and the subversion of traditional notions of commerce through art making.
Anton Vidokle is an artist and editor of e-flux journal. He was born in Moscow and currently lives in New York and Berlin. Vidokle’s work has been exhibited internationally at Documenta 13 and the 56th Venice Bienale. Vidokle’s films have been presented at Bergen Assembly, Shanghai Biennale, the 65th and 66th Berlinale International Film Festival, Forum Expanded, Gwangju Biennale, Center Pompidou, Tate Modern, Garage Museum, Istanbul Biennial, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Tensta Konsthall, Blaffer Art Museum, Stedelijk Museum, and others.
Photo credits by Julieta Arand.
Ilona Németh is an artist, organizer and curator based in Slovakia and Hungary. She was professor, head of the Studio IN, leading International education program Open Studio at the Department of Intermedia at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava in beetween 2014-2019. In 1986 she graduated from the Hungarian University of Arts and Design Department of Typography and Typographic Art, Budapest. In 2006 she defended her doctoral thesis at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest. 2008 she was Fulbright Scholar at the New York University, New York. Last scholarships include: Hungarian Academy in Rome (2010); AIR-Artist in Residence program, Niederösterreich, Krems (2012); The Bogliasco Foundation, Italy (2016); Cite Internationale des Arts (2018, 2019).
Photo credits by Marian Ravasz.
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov are amongst the most celebrated artists of their generation, widely known as pioneers of installation art. Artists in the Soviet Union were obliged to follow the officially approved style, Socialist Realism. Wanting to retain his independence, Ilya supported himself as a children’s book illustrator from 1955 to 1987, while continuing to make his own paintings and drawings. As an ‘unofficial artist’, he worked in the privacy of his Moscow attic studio, showing his art only to a close circle of artists and intellectuals. Ilya and Emilia began their artistic partnership in the late 1980s, and were married in 1992. Together, they have produced a profile output of immersive installations and other conceptual works addressing ideas of utopia, dreams and fear, to reflect on the universal human condition.
Adrian Paci studied painting at the Academy of Art of Tirana. In 1997, he emigrated to Milan, Italy. Today, Paci lives and works alternately in Milan and Shkodër. His work covers the fields of video, photography, painting, drawing, sculpture and installation in his oeuvre. Throughout his career he held numerous solo shows in various international institutions such as: National Gallery of Arts, Tirana (2019); MAC, Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal (2014); Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea – PAC, Milan (2014); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2013); National Gallery of Kosovo, Prishtina (2012); Kunsthaus Zurich, Zurich (2010); Bloomberg Space, London (2010); The Center for Contemporary Art – CCA, Tel Aviv (2009); Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund (2007); MoMA PS1, New York (2006) and Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2005).
Alban Muja was born in Mitrovica, Kosovo in 1980. He graduated with a Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Faculty of Arts, University of Pristina, and lives and works in Pristina. Influenced primarily by the social, political and economic transformation processes in the wider surrounding region, he investigates history and socio-political themes and links them to his position in Kosovo today.
Živadinov Dragan studied theatrical direction at the Academy of Music, Radio, Television and Film in Ljubljana (AGRFT) from 1980 to 1984. He was a cofounder of the art movement Neue Slowenische Kunst(1985). In the 1980s he constructed the style formation retro-gardism. In 1983 he founded the retro-garde Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre and, in 1987, the cosmokinetic observatory Red Pilot.
Photo credits by Miha Fras.
In the frame of the Focus: NSK State in Time project, the screening of the work The Curator’s Room by Damjan Kozole will take place on Friday, 27 September.
Friday, 27 September 2019
5 pm | The Curator’s Room | Damjan Kozole
film screening, viennacontemporary 2019, Marx Halle (Culture 5.0 Conference Booth)
This year’s Focus presentation is kindly supported by the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory and ERSTE Foundation.
Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory
This year’s Focus presentation is kindly supported by the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory and ERSTE Foundation. The Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory was founded in 2008 by Zabel family members and ERSTE Foundation. The association’s objective is to work with the heritage of Igor Zabel, an influential Slovene curator and art historian.
This year’s Focus presentation is kindly supported by the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory and ERSTE Foundation. As main shareholder of Erste Group ERSTE Foundation secures the independent future of one of the largest financial service providers in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. As a private Austrian savings bank foundation, ERSTE Foundation is committed to serve the common good. Contemporary culture is the experimental field of open societies. ERSTE Foundation supports projects of all kinds in the field of contemporary art. An art collection, independent project rooms and a prestigious art prize pay tribute to the still insufficiently researched and perceived socio-critical art of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe.
Save the Date
26–29 September 2019
Marx Halle Vienna