Vade Retro. Original mixed media and collage, 1999. Edition of E.A. (artist’s proof) 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. Vade Retro is an artwork that makes us think about religion and Christianity. We can see Christ holding the Bible, behind a black minimalist cross, which is standing between the deer’s horns. The deer with a cross between the horns appears in one of the Biblical stories and symbolizes Jesus and Christianity and in the same time the name of the artwork is also seen in the Bible when Jesus was telling “Vade retro, Satan!” as he pursued the unholy, which means “Go back, Satan!”.