Triptych “Razsvetljenje”. Original mixed media and collage, 1992. Edition of 75 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 – 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 triptych called “Razsvetljenje” (eng. Enlightenment) deals with the topic of socialism and working class issues. In the first one we can see a typical Yugoslavian factory – a symbol of the working class of that time, and a huge sign for infinity above. In this sign there is a black circle on the white square and a black square on the white square, which are direct reminiscences of Kazimir Malevich, the Russian avant-garde, and socialism and communism, taken from the Soviet Union. In the second part is a military drummer boy on the red background, the color of communism. Behind the boy are geometric shapes which are also related to the Russian avant-garde. Last one depicts a skull as a symbol of passage of time in a combination with a silhouette of a man who swung his hammer which is another reminiscence of the working class of that time.