Neue Slowenische Kunst–An Event of the Final Decade of Yugoslavia on view in Moscow
30 September to 9 December 2016, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow
Starting on 30 September 2016, the NSK from Kapital to Capital. Neue Slowenische Kunst – An Event of the Final Decade of Yugoslavia exhibition, the first major survey show in Russia of the Slovenian art collective Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) will be on view at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow. The exhibition was developed by and first staged in Moderna galerija in Ljubljana last year, and has traveled to the Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands earlier this year. The preview of the exhibition is part of the opening of the fall exhibition season of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow on 29 September 2016.
The exhibition traces key events from 1980 to 1992—concerts, shows, theatrical productions, performances, guerrilla actions, public proclamations—by the groups that comprised NSK. In 1992, partly in response to the breakup of Yugoslavia, the groups ceased working as the Neue Slowenische Kunst collective and launched the “NSK State in Time,” a utopian formation which describes itself as “the first global state of the Universe.”
The collective Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) was founded in 1984 by three groups––the multimedia group Laibach (formed1980), the visual arts group IRWIN (formed 1983) and Scipion Nasice Sisters Theater (1983-1987). At the same time, the three groups founded a fourth group, the design department New Collectivism. Later, NSK established other departments: the Department of Pure and Applied Philosophy, Retrovision, Film, and Builders.
The Moscow exhibition, similarly as the Ljubljana edition, follows the work of the three founding groups and of the five departments. The central section of the exhibition looks at the key themes the groups critically examined together.
This retrospective exhibition of the NSK collective is placed within the economic and sociopolitical context of the 1980s, a turbulent decade that preceded the collapse of the old world order and heralded the ever-increasing reach of capitalism. As a unique, self–organized collective formed also in response to this situation, NSK gave an artistic proposal for a different system and a different type of institution, developing its own principles of organization, economy, and terminology for the collective’s artistic practices. The proposal they put forward challenges the simplistic binary opposition of socialist versus capitalist ideology, marking NSK as a global cultural phenomenon transcending its specific time and space.
NSK’s aesthetic and vast theoretical output made use of various art traditions, including the ideas of the Russian avant-garde, which experienced a revival in Yugoslavia in the late 1970s and early 1980s, becoming a tradition of reference in the works of a number of Yugoslav artists. It resonated greatly in the works of the NSK groups; each group establishing its own particular dialogue with this important tradition.
In the early 1990s, the collective started an intense relationship with the Moscow art scene which, in 1992, resulted in the organization of the NSK Moscow Embassy—a month-long event involving lectures and debates on the theme “How the East sees the East.” Their exhibition in Moscow twenty-four years later can thus be seen as a symbolic “return” both to this event and to one of their most important traditions.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a free booklet in Russian and English which provides information on the various groups and their works, as well as a comprehensive introduction to the movement. The English language catalogue, NSK: FROM KAPITAL TO CAPITAL: Neue Slowenische Kunst––An Event of the Final Decade of Yugoslavia, edited by Zdenka Badovinac, Eda Čufer, and Anthony Gardner and published by Moderna galerija and MIT Press, will be available for purchase at Garage Bookshop.
NSK: FROM KAPITAL TO CAPITAL is curated by Zdenka Badovinac, Director of Moderna galerija, Ljubljana. It was first presented at the Moderna galerija in 2015; a second iteration developed for the Van Abbemuseum as part of the exhibition The 1980s. Today’s Beginnings? held earlier in 2016. Both exhibitions were part of the five-year programme The Uses of Art – the Legacy of 1848 and 1989, organized by L’Internationale. The exhibition at Garage is organized by Snejana Krasteva, Garage Curator.
Photo: Alexey Narodnitsky, Garage Archive