This book is the generously illustrated, lavishly documented, critically narrated story of one of the most significant art collectives of the late twentieth century.
In 1984, three groups of artists in post-Tito Yugoslavia—the music and multimedia group Laibach, the visual arts group Irwin, and the theater group Scipion Nasice Sisters Theater—came together to form the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) art collective.
Adopting the symbols, codes, appearances, and discourses of fascism, nationalism, state power, socialist-realist, and avant-garde art, and pushing the strategies of overidentification and subversive affirmation to their limits, NSK exposed the common foundations of various regimes, systems, and ideologies, while affirming that “art and totalitarianism are not mutually exclusive.”
Employing music, video, film, exhibitions, writing, graphic design, architecture, theater, and public relations to probe the aesthetic possibilities of declining socialism and proliferating capitalism, NSK introduced an idiosyncratic version of postmodernism (the Retro-Avant-Garde) into the globalizing cultural sphere.
Combining primary documents, period artifacts, critical essays, and contextual notes, NSK from Kapital to Capital documents NSK’s collective practice during the final decade of Yugoslavia—from the first (and banned) Laibach concert (1980) in a small proletarian mining town in Slovenia to the series of projects launched by individual NSK groups entitled Kapital (1991-92). This illuminating chronicle of NSK’s work and its reception is produced in conjunction with the first major museum exhibition devoted to NSK. Designed by Novi Kolektivizem (New Collectivism), the graphic design section of NSK, the cover of each individual copy of the book is printed with a custom detail; no two covers exactly are the same.
Eda Čufer, Goran Đorđević, Slavoj Žižek, Marina Gržinić, Rastko Močnik, Marina Gržinić, Lev Kreft, Tomaž Mastnak, Mladen Dolar, Chrissie Iles, Boris Groys, Inke Arns, Alexei Monroe, Brian Holmes, Catherine Wood, Daniel Ricardo Quiles, Anthony Gardner, Barbara Borčič, Alexei Yourcak, Dejan Kršić and others
Copublished with Moderna Galerija / Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Moderna galerija, Ljubljana: 12 May–17 August 2015
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven: March–August, 2016
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow: Fall 2016.
About the Editors
Zdenka Badovinac is a curator and writer who has served since 1993 as Director of the Moderna galerija/Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana.
Eda Čufer, one of the founding members of NSK, is a dramaturge, curator, and writer and the cofounder of Scipion Nasice Sisters Theater.
Anthony Gardner is Associate Professor in Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Oxford and the author of Politically Unbecoming: Postsocialist Art against Democracy (MIT Press).