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03 Nov 2011

NSK FOLK ART at Galerija Skuc, Ljubljana

Valnoir, Le militant, 2011

NSK Folk Art
Galerija Škuc


NSK Folk Art Nov 3rd - Dec 3rd 2011 Tue - Sun 12.00 - 20.00


Tevž Logar
+ 386 1 251 65 40
+ 386 1 421 31 40


Galerija Škuc
Stari trg 21
1000 Ljubljana

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3.11. – 3.12. 2011


Exhibited works are from IRWIN in NSKSTATE.COM collection NSK Folk Art.

You are also most kindly invited to attend the presentation of the book State of Emergence- A Documentary of the First NSK Citizens' Congress, which will take place before the exhibition opening, at 19.00. The book will be presented by the editor, Alexei Monroe, and Haris Hararis, initiator of the NSKSTATE.COM web portal.

For several years, the programme of Škuc Gallery has always sought to refer to the history of the venue, particularly by taking into account the gallery's past and its historical role, which then serve as a platform for artists whose work was presented in solo and group exhibitions ten years ago or more. In any case, this does not mean an idealisation of history and its phenomena or the re-creation of existing ideas, but refers above all to a contemplation of the development of individual artistic practices and phenomena; therefore, the projects presented in Škuc feature current works. In the 1980s, Škuc Gallery opened its doors to new phenomena in the visual arts, including the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) movement, which was established in 1984. Cooperation, a constant flow of ideas between the founding members – the groups which comprised NSK (Laibach, IRWIN and Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre) – created a movement which from its inception broke through the limitations of the visual arts and had a powerful effect on the wider cultural sphere, while influencing other aspects of society. Connections between groups within NSK resulted in projects with a complex media structure which openly flirted with the phenomenon of the 'Gesamtkunstwerk', while revealing a completely new understanding of art and contemporary society. NSK projects provided a platform that brought together theatre, music, painting, literature, philosophy, design and performance. In 1992, NSK experienced some sort of transformation - the next level of development, as it were - with the establishment of the NSK State in Time, which was mainly a response to the political shifts and radical changes taking place in Yugoslavia and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The establishment of the NSK State provided a symbolic starting point for the realisation of NSK Folk Art, which reveals for the first time the different interests of citizens and their views of the NSK. The research project seeks to completely distance itself from the NSK 'authorities' and the founders of the NSK State, thereby presenting the phenomenon and development of folk art in the state as genuinely as possible.
In addition to the universality of the idea of the NSK State in Time, the key factor for the development of folk art was the Internet, as it enabled the idea of a state without territory, which exists only in time, to spread very quickly. In 2001, Haris Hararis set up the website NSKSTATE.COM, which became a meeting place for different initiatives of NSK citizens, confirming that citizens were developing ways of self-organisation and the idea of a state completely independently from its founders. NSK projects referred to the complex media structure from the very beginning, and the same is true of the initiatives and projects of citizens of the NSK State. Via the NSKSTATE.COM website and also independently, citizens (in particular) have created an astounding collection of surprising projects which make some reference to the NSK phenomenon. The idea of connecting art and the state or art and ideology is also very evident. The conceptual space and scope of iconography of the NSK have enabled individual citizens to express their views, and, above all, the possibilities of the NSK State in Time both in terms of form and content. This is also one of the objectives of the NSK Folk Art exhibition, which is a kind of collection of thoughts of individual citizens about what the State should be. Considering the entire scope of folk art of the NSK State in Time, the selection presented in Škuc Gallery is rather limited, as it had to be adapted to the venue, while being as multifaceted as possible. The selection presents diverse forms of individual art practices, which shows the complex media structure of the projects; above all, it focuses on individual decisions that citizens (in particular) have made within the context of the NSK State and expressed through the medium of art. Some works directly comment on geo-political relationships and current social problems in the area of their work. Some commentaries are very intimate or direct political statements, as the artists are personally involved with the issue at hand and use art to define and separate themselves from the majority. Somewhat different, but no less significant, is the explicit presentation of an individual's identity, which can still be subject to prejudice, particularly if the form does not conform to established patterns of social mythology. The NSK State has become a type of refuge for those who think alike and differently, who are creating a new space of opportunities on both collective and individual levels. Within this framework, connecting common interests and references is primary. For some, this is a space of super-identification which principally refers to the founders of NSK and its projects; meanwhile, independent ideas of individuals who see the NSK State as a platform for bringing together thoughts on philosophy, politics, religion, traumas, art and personal poetics and views have emerged.

The NSK Folk Art exhibition in Škuc Gallery seeks to encapsulate some of the more recognisable ideas and citizens views of the NSK State in Time. However, like any folk art, NSK folk art is not a fixed canon, but continues to develop, taking on new forms and thereby different roles – both in the form of continuous rational processes and intuitive action, both of which are marked by the underlying urge to create/make statements. In addition to an innovative formal approach, the exhibition NSK Folk Art also shows that context has a very important role in a work of art, and directly shows how contemporary the visual works are. The wide field established by the context always leaves the door open to contradictions which emerge when works and ideas are juxtaposed. Therefore, the exhibition NSK Folk Art is as affirmative as it ambiguous. Within the NSK State in Time, every point of view has its opposite, which raises doubt. Perhaps the best epigraph for the exhibition is the statement by Tristan Tzara: 'Dada doubts everything. Dada is an armadillo. Everything is Dada, too. Beware of Dada. Anti-dadaism is a disease: self-kleptomania, man's normal condition, is Dada. But the real dadas are against Dada.'

Tevž Logar

Film screening: Predictions of Fire, film by Michael Benson, 1996
Thursday, November 10, at 20.00 at Galerija Škuc.
Wednesday, November 30, at 18.00 at Galerija Škuc.

A guided tour with the curator will take place on Wednesday, November 16 and Saturday, December 3 at 18.00.

Special thanks to
Artists, Laibach, Darko Pokorn, Maska, Maja Megla.