Thirty years have passed since the founding of Laibach, a group whose music and performances have become part of cultural history. What many do not know, however, is that Laibach in fact began its career as a visual art group. Images that most of us know from the paintings of the Irwin group â?? the cross, the coffee cup, the deer, the metal worker â?? were originally Laibach motifs. They were part of the capital the group invested in the newly established collective Neue Slowenische Kunst in 1984. With the founding of NSK, the visual art tradition Laibach had been creating up to that time was taken over by Irwin.
Laibach brought an alternative post-modern form of creativity into Slovene art. The group drew connections between New Image painting, the do-it-yourself art of punk bands and the post-conceptual practices that were being promoted in the Belgrade and Zagreb art scenes. Laibach â??welded togetherâ? various media â?? music, video, film and performance â?? â??highâ? and â??lowâ? culture, pop culture, politics and art. And at the very start of the 1980s, they defined in clear terms the fundamentals of the Retro-Avant-Garde.
Laibachâ??s first realized exhibition (not including the one in Trbovlje in 1980, which was so controversial it was banned before it ever opened) took place in June 1981 at the SreÄ?na galerija of the Student Cultural Centre in Belgrade. Some of the groupâ??s members had been doing their army service in Belgrade and, in their spare time, had developed contacts with the alternative and New Wave scene that met at the student centre. Titled Ausstellung Laibach Kunst, the exhibition presented some of the groupâ??s early prints and paintings as Laibachâ??s music buzzed alongside them from a cassette recorder.
To commemorate 39 years of Laibach, an art show opens Thursday, 15 April, at 8 p.m. at the International Centre of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana.
(via Beyond the Beyond)