IRWIN [Dušan Mandič, Miran Mohar, Andrej Savski, Roman Uranjek, and Borut Vogelnik] (collective founded 1983 in Ljubljana, Slovenia; works in Ljubljana).
Mixed media; 120 x 200 cm.
A wall diagram that spoofs Alfred H. Barr’s 1936 diagram of modern art. The IRWIN equivalent extents back from its present day (IRWIN) back to the historic avant-garde (Malevich). It introduces the collective’s idea of “eastern modernism.”
“By presenting us with the hypothesis of an entirely constructed ‘-ism of the East,’ Retroavantgarde questions the validity of this well-known process of the inclusion/exclusion of an artistic approach within the international art system, often undergone by approaches that have come from non-western territories. If an ‘-ism’ implies a movement connected to the western avant-gardes and consequently to a modernist (i.e. universalistic and progressive) conception of art, then the idea of a ‘modernism of the East’ is an absurdity. Not only does that formula deny the allegedly ‘universal’ character of modernism by specifying its geographical origins, but by the very principles of creation underlying it, it frustrates all real modernist progression.”
—Juliane Debeusscher, “Retroavantgarde: Vertiginous Forms of Representation,” website of IRWIN.