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Established 1983. Live in Ljubljana.

The artists’ group IRWIN have been making work together since 1984.
They have worked in many different media and forms of expression, from performance to installation, but have consistently returned to work on a series of painted and collaged icon images. These are now gathered together in their entirety for the first time and shown on a single wall in Antrepo No: 5.
The icons sweep across a whole range of aesthetic styles, political movements and religious beliefs. We find the symbols of Malevich’s Suprematism next to Christian iconography and socialist revolution. People have invested hope, faith and passion in the ideologies behind these signs but, hung together en masse, each is equalised and emptied of its original meaning to become part of a much wider aesthetic system. Educated in the former Yugoslavia, IRWIN have experienced a great change in the symbols of nationhood and social organisation. Their work has always exposed the inconsistencies inherent in all systems of belief, often by taking their claims of authority literally. Here we are presented with a kind of visual menu asking us either to choose the one in which we wish to invest our commitment or, perhaps, to reject them all in favour of our own personal formula for social satisfaction.
In İstanbul, a city richer than most in the symbols of competing ideologies, the work has a sobering effect. Its excessiveness providing a strangely effective antidote while heightening the visibility of the equivalent signs that we see in the city every day.

Charles Esche


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