Laibach and Neue Slowenische Kunst
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Keywords

Laibach
Neue Slowenische Kunst
collective memory
political memory
totalitarianism
Slovenia
poster affair

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How to Cite

Tratnik, Polona. 2022. “Laibach and Neue Slowenische Kunst: Deconstruction of Political Memory through Art”. Membrana – Journal of Photography, Theory and Visual Culture 7 (1-2):153–173. https://doi.org/10.47659/mj-v7n1-2id149.

Abstract

In the 1980s, the art group Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) employed postmodernist artistic techniques, eclecticism and pastiche, with which they evoked political and artistic memories through music, painting, design, theatre and statements and deconstructed these political memories. For Laibach in particular, the treatment of National Socialist iconography and totalitarian rhetoric was central, but not in service of politics. The totalitarianism they imitated was a simulacrum. In their manifesto the artists claimed to strive towards politically independent artistic activity. However, in the second half of the 1980s, the collective operated with the support of the Socialist Youth League of Slovenia, the youth sector of the Communist Party. In the article, the author examines the complex relationships between art and politics or how the performances of Laibach and NSK in the 1980s were related to the political situation in Slovenia. She is interested in the social integration of Laibach and also NSK, their rhetoric, appearances and artistic-political interventions in Slovenia in the 1980s, especially in relation to the development of events related to Slovene nationality. Laibach and NSK evoked a repressed but essentially present self-image of the Slovene nation’s ever-present subordination to other nations, which co-created a collective political complex about Slovene subservience and inadequacy. The evocation of this political representation by the artistic collective, especially Laibach, in the way of reviving and dismantling iconography and rhetoric was not pleasant, but triggered a revision of collective remembering and an assessment of Slovenia’s current position, as well as the Slovene nation’s potential for national liberation.

https://doi.org/10.47659/mj-v7n1-2id149
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