Galerija Gregor Podnar – IRWIN

Galerija Gregor Podnar – IRWIN

November 11, 2016 – January 14, 2017
Opening: Friday, November 11, 2016 | 6 – 9 pm

Galerija Gregor Podnar is proud to present the fifth solo exhibition of the Ljubljana-based artist group IRWIN.
1983–2016 features artworks ranging from the 1980s to the present, in an attempt to visualize IRWIN’s complex and characteristic approach in making connections between art and ideology.

Since the mid-eighties, IRWIN has been working in a wide range of media, from painting to public art, from sculpture and installations to book publishing. Starting to work in the context of former Yugoslavia, the group developed the so called ‘retro-principle’ method, which combines motifs and signs from past totalitarian systems with artistic movements, and transforms them into the visual field.

The exhibition 1983–2016 overviews significant projects of the collective, starting with the installation Was ist Kunst (1984–ongoing) that juxtaposes historical works with more recent production. The thread is continued with the screening of the video Black Square on the Red Square(1992), a performance that was executed by IRWIN as part of the NSK Embassy Moscow project. The 30-minute action consisted of the spreading out of a 22 x 22 meter square made of black fabric – as homage to Kazimir Malevich – in the central part of Red Square in Moscow. The set-up is concluded with a selection of monochromes and works with crosses (2004–ongoing), through which IRWIN proposes a direct commentary on the history of art and the principles of modernism.

Group founded in 1983.
Dušan Mandič, born in 1954, in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Miran Mohar, born in 1958, in Novo Mesto, Slovenia.
Andrej Savski, born in 1961, in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Roman Uranjek, born in 1961, in Trbovlje, Slovenia.
Borut Vogelnik, born in 1958, in Kranj, Slovenia.

IRWIN works in a complex and subtle way with connections between art and ideology. Their work brings together art historical references, such as Romanticism, Modernism or the Suprematism of Malevich, with symbols taken from religion or totalitarian political systems, for example from the Nazi era or from Soviet social realism. IRWIN has over time built a complex system of cross-references between their works and the works of other artists. The starting point for IRWIN is that different symbols have different meanings depending on place and time. In order to examine and discover the meaning and the function of a symbol IRWIN starts work according to a method or process they have developed themselves, the retro principle. This method means that in order to understand the meaning and function of a symbol one needs to investigate its origin. A reconstruction of the meaning of the symbol implies that the meaning of the symbol is changed retrospectively through the fact that IRWIN juxtaposes and appropriates the symbols into new contexts. Irwin is also a cofounder of NSK in 1984.

Galerija Gregor Podnar was established in June 2003 in Kranj (Slovenia) as part of the DUM Association.
In August 2005 the gallery moved to Kolodvorska 6 in Ljubljana, where it was operating as a project space until the end of 2014. From 1996 till 2003 Gregor Podnar had been running an international program as artistic director of Galerija Škuc in Ljubljana and since 2001 he presents artists at different art fairs.

In October 2007 Gregor Podnar opened a second gallery in Lindenstr. 35, Berlin. By continuing this line of curatorial and gallery work Galerija Gregor Podnar aims at running a production center, which collaborates with different galleries and institutions in Europe and abroad. It represents internationally renowned and established artists mostly from Eastern European centres, like Attila Csörgő, Tomislav Gotovac, Ion Grigorescu, IRWIN, Julije Knifer, Dan Perjovschi, Goran Petercol, and Goran Trbuljak. With an emphasis on the heritage of conceptual movements, the gallery has developed step by step towards a wider context, with artists like Pablo Accinelli, Primož Bizjak, Irma Blank, Vadim Fishkin, Marcius Galan, Alexander Gutke, Anne Neukamp, Marzena Nowak, Tobias Putrih, Ariel Schlesinger, Francisco Tropa and B. Wurtz.

Black Square on Red Square (Moscow), colour photograph, 120 x 112 cm (framed), 1992-1997. Photo: Kineton Pictures

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