Neue Slowenische Kunst

Last updated
Logo of Neue Slowenische Kunst NSK Logo.jpg
Logo of Neue Slowenische Kunst

Neue Slowenische Kunst ( [ˈnɔɪ̯ə sloˈveːnɪʃə kʊnst] ; NSK; German: "New Slovenian Art") is a political art collective that formed in Slovenia in 1984, when the Socialist Republic of Slovenia was part of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. NSK's name was chosen to reflect the theme in its works of the complicated relationship Slovenes have had with Germans. The name of NSK's music wing, Laibach, is also the German name of the Slovene capital Ljubljana. The name created controversy because some felt it evoked memories of the Nazi annexation of Slovenia during the Second World War. It also refers to Slovenia's previous seven centuries as part of the Habsburg monarchy. [1]



NSK was founded by the musical group Laibach. Other NSK members include groups such as IRWIN (visual art), Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre (also known as Red Pilot and Cosmokinetic Theatre Noordung), New Collective Studio (graphics; also known as New Collectivism), Retrovision (film and video), and the Department of Pure and Applied Philosophy (theory). [2] [3] [4] The founding groups of the NSK were Laibach, IRWIN, and Scipion Nasice Sisters Theater. Membership has traditionally been open to all artistic groups who show an interest in challenging the norms and taboos of Slovene national identity. [5]


NSK art often draws on symbols from totalitarian or extreme nationalist movements, often appropriating totalitarian kitsch in a visual style reminiscent of Dada. NSK artists often juxtapose symbols from different (and often incompatible) political ideologies. For example, a 1987 NSK-designed poster caused a scandal by winning a competition for the Yugoslavian Youth Day Celebration. The poster appropriated a painting by Nazi artist Richard Klein, replacing the flag of Nazi Germany with the Yugoslav flag and the German eagle with a dove. [3] Intended as an ironic joke, the painting soon fell foul of the authorities, who interpreted it as equating Marshal Josip Broz Tito with Adolf Hitler. It was later reproduced on the cover of Mladina magazine, and that particular issue was subsequently banned. [6]

The NSK was the subject of a 1996 documentary film entitled Predictions of Fire (Prerokbe Ognja), [7] which was written and directed by Michael Benson. Among those interviewed is Slovenian intellectual Slavoj Žižek.

NSK State

Since 1991, the NSK has claimed to be a sovereign state of sorts, [8] a claim similar to that of micronations. As such, displays of its members' work are performed under the guise of an embassy, or a territory of the supposed state. Since 1994, the NSK has maintained consulates in several cities, including Umag, Croatia. [9] It has also issued passports and postage stamps. [10] NSK passports are considered an art project. As such, they are not valid for travel. In 2010, the first NSK Citizens Congress was held in Berlin. It was followed by a "NSK Rendez-Vous" in Lyon, France, where Alexei Monroe revealed NSK's aim : to make people "aware that totalitarianism isn't a discrete historical phenomenon which went on from 1933 to 1989 and then it's over so let's have a nice triumph of liberal democracy". [11] On February 26, 2011, another "NSK Rendez-Vous" took place in London. In 2012, yet another "NSK Rendez-Vous" was set to take place in New York City's Museum of Modern Art. [12] 2017 saw NSK set up a pavilion at the Venice Biennale where Slavoj Žižek stated that "the uniqueness of NSK is this idea of the 'stateless state'. [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Laibach</span> Slovenian music group

Laibach is a Slovenian avant-garde music group associated with the industrial, martial, and neo-classical genres. Formed in the mining town of Trbovlje in 1980, Laibach represents the musical wing of the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) collective, a group which Laibach helped found in 1984. "Laibach" is the German historical name for the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, itself an oblique reference to the Nazi occupation of Slovenia in World War II.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Slavoj Žižek</span> Slovenian philosopher (born 1949)

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher, cultural theorist and public intellectual. He is international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities at the University of London, visiting professor at New York University and a senior researcher at the University of Ljubljana's Department of Philosophy. He primarily works on continental philosophy and political theory, as well as film criticism and theology.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">University of Ljubljana</span> Slovene public university

The University of Ljubljana, often referred to as UL, is the oldest and largest university in Slovenia. It has approximately 39,000 enrolled students.

In the minds of many foreigners, Slovenian folk music means a form of polka that is still popular today, especially among expatriates and their descendants. However, there are many styles of Slovenian folk music beyond polka and waltz. Kolo, lender, štajeriš, mafrine and šaltin are a few of the traditional music styles and dances.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Slovenes</span> Central European ethnic group living in historical Slovene lands

The Slovenes, also known as Slovenians, are a South Slavic ethnic group native to Slovenia, and adjacent regions in Italy, Austria and Hungary. Slovenes share a common ancestry, culture, history and speak Slovene as their native language. They are closely related to other South Slavic ethnic groups, especially Croats, as well as more distantly to West Slavs.

Noordung are a Slovenian theatre group; founded in 1983 under the name of Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre they were, in 1984, a founding member of the Neue Slowenische Kunst collective. They were also known 1987–1990 as Red Pilot Theater.

IRWIN is a collective of Slovenian artists, primarily painters, and an original founding member of Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK).

The JBTZ trial or the JBTZ affair, also known as the Ljubljana trial or the Trial against the Four was a political trial held in a military court in Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia in 1988. The defendants, Janez Janša, Ivan Borštner, David Tasić and Franci Zavrl, were sentenced to between six months' and four years' imprisonment for "betraying military secrets", after being involved in writing and publishing articles critical of the Yugoslav People's Army. The trial sparked great uproar in Slovenia, and was an important event for the organization and development of the liberal democratic opposition in the republic. The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights was founded on the same day of the arrest, which is generally considered as the beginning of the so-called Slovenian Spring.

<i>Volk</i> (album) 2006 studio album by Laibach

Volk is the seventh studio album by Slovenian industrial group Laibach, released in 2006. The word "volk" means "people" or "nation" in German and "wolf" in Slovene. The album is a collection of thirteen songs inspired by national or pan-national anthems, plus the anthem of the NSK State, a virtual state to which Laibach belong. The album is a collaboration with another Slovenian band, Silence.

Mladina is a Slovenian weekly left-wing political and current affairs magazine. Since the 1920s, when it was first published, it has become a voice of protest against those in power. Today, Mladina's weekly issues are distributed throughout the country. Mladina is considered one of the most influential political magazines in Slovenia.

<i>Predictions of Fire</i> 1996 American film

Predictions of Fire or Prerokbe ognja is a 1996 documentary film by American filmmaker Michael Benson about Neue Slowenische Kunst.

Igor Vidmar is a prominent Slovenian and former Yugoslav journalist, rock music promoter and manager, music producer and political activist.

Inke Arns is a German curator and theorist known for her works focusing on media arts.

Ljubljana school of psychoanalysis, also known as the Ljubljana Lacanian School is a popular name for a school of thought centred on the Society for Theoretical Psychoanalysis based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Philosophers related to School include Slavoj Žižek, Rastko Močnik, Mladen Dolar, Alenka Zupančič, Miran Božovič and Eva Bahovec. Other scholars associated with the school include philosophers Zdravko Kobe, Rado Riha, Jelica Šumič Riha, sociologist Renata Salecl and philosopher Peter Klepec.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dragan Živadinov</span>

Dragan Živadinov, is a Slovenian theatre director.

Subversive affirmation is an artistic performance that overemphasizes prevailing ideologies and thereby calls them into question. Simultaneously with affirmation, the affirmed concepts are revealed, and artists distance themselves from those concepts. Strategies of subversive affirmation include "over-identification", "over-affirmation" and "yes revolution".

<i>Europe Today</i> (play)

Europe Today is a theatre show produced in cooperation between East West Theatre Company and Slovene National Theatre. The show is based on an essay written by Miroslav Krleza and directed by Haris Pasovic. Production also included Miki Manojlovic, an actor; Edward Clug, a contemporary dancer and choreographer; as well as the industrial, neoclassical band Laibach. The dramaturgy of the production was done by Dubravka Vrgoc, director of Zagreb Youth Theatre. The artists, who reside in Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, rehearsed in Maribor's Slovene National Theatre during February 2011. The show opened February 16 and it provoked great regional and international interest.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Slovene Partisans</span>

The Slovene Partisans, formally the National Liberation Army and Partisan Detachments of Slovenia, were part of Europe's most effective anti-Nazi resistance movement led by Yugoslav revolutionary communists during World War II, the Yugoslav Partisans. Since a quarter of Slovene ethnic territory and approximately 327,000 out of total population of 1.3 million Slovenes were subjected to forced Italianization since the end of the First World War, the objective of the movement was the establishment of the state of Slovenes that would include the majority of Slovenes within a socialist Yugoslav federation in the postwar period.

The Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre was founded on 13 October 1983 in Ljubljana by Eda Čufer, Dragan Živadinov and Miran Mohar, three Slovenian students.

<i>Party Songs</i> (Laibach album) 2019 EP by Laibach

Party Songs is an EP by Neue Slowenische Kunst industrial/avant-garde group Laibach. It contains three versions of the song "Honourable, Dead or Alive, When Following the Revolutionary Road", as well as two versions of North Korean pop song "We Will Go To Mount Paektu" and a live recording of all-Korean folk song "Arirang". The songs are a collaboration with Boris Benko from Slovenian electronic band Silence.


  1. Monroe, Alexei. Interrogation Machine. MIT Press, 2005. p 3.
  2. Anonymous. "State of Art: the new Slovene Avant Garde" (2004). Northwest Film Forum and Scala House, program for exhibit November 18November 24, 2004 at Northwest Film Forum, Seattle.
  3. 1 2 Regina Hackett. "Slovenian art collective is adept at working politics and art". Seattle Post-Intelligencer , November 19, 2004.
  4. "Laibach". Archived from the original on 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  5. James Gow & Cathie Carmichael, Slovenia and the Slovenes: A Small State and the New Europe, C. Hurst & Company, 2001, pp. 98-99
  6. Gow & Carmichael, Slovenia and the Slovenes, p. 96
  7. Holden, Steven (2 October 1996). "Facing the Menace of Totalitarianism". The New York Times . Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  8. "[ NSKSTATE.COM ][ The Slovenia of Athens ]". Archived from the original on 2008-03-09. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  9. "[ NSKSTATE.COM ]". Archived from the original on 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  10. "[ NSKSTATE.COM ][ HOW TO GET A PASSPORT ]". Archived from the original on 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  11. "NSK à Lyon : Perspektive 2/2". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08.
  12. "NSK Passport Office, New York & NSK Rendezvous MoMA".
  13. "A passport from a country that does not exist". BBC. 16 May 2017.

Further reading