Toronto Portfolio “Lenin”. Original mixed media and collage, 1989-95. Edition of 70 signed and numbered impressions on Arches paper.
IRWIN is a political internationally acclaimed group of five Slovenian artists (Dusan Mandic, Miran Mohar, Andrej Savski, Roman Uranjek and Bort Vogelnik), primarily painters, and an original founding member of Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) – a controversial political art collective along with the music group Laibach, the performance group Scipion Nasice Sisters Theater and the design section Novi kolektivizem (NK). Irwin’s art is complex and has a traumatic and provocative effect, because of it’s strong political and artistic connotations, including fascist, Soviet, religious, and Suprematist images. Two different approaches may be observed in the group in terms of their work. The first one is the emphasis that they place on collective group working rather than favoring the individuality of the artist. This is why the majority of the projects hold the groups name Irwin as the signature. The second approach of the groups work is the so-called retro-principle that is used. Here works become a collage of quotations and allusions to various sources such as iconography, past symbols and philosophical ideas. The artworks are made by number of media including paint, tar, books, dishes, Lego, silkscreens and many others, but they also created the performances. Every one of their artworks has the groups monogram, often on a metal plate instead of traditional artists signatures. This portfolio got its name from being made in Toronto. In this collage there is one of the famous portraits of a Russian revolutionary, politician, and a political theorist – Lenin, during his speech where he is encouraging people to revolutionize. He was the leader of the October revolution, after which Russia became a socialist state. Unlike the original painting of the October revolution with Lenin, this Lenin is depicted with a torn flag of the Soviet Union. On his left side is a branch with thorns and below him is a factory as a symbol of the working class.