NSK Folk Art Risen
There will be a suggested donation of £5 with all door money going to support The Horse Hospital’s fighting fund.
This October, the Horse Hospital hosts the latest in a series of events presenting the NSK State and the work of its citizens, artists and allies. The NSK State was created in 1992 as a project of the Neue Slowenische Kunst artists’ collective (founded in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 1984). Following the break up of Yugoslavia, the NSK collective created a virtual state in time and without territory, to examine and question national boundaries and the utopian desires underpinning social formations. In the wake of the First NSK Citizens’ Congress in Berlin (2010), a number of citizen led initiatives took place, including at the Horse Hospital. The largest to date was the 1st NSK Folk Art Biennale, which took place in Leipzig in 2014.
This summer, in the aftermath of Brexit, the 2nd NSK State Folk Art Biennale was held at Burren College of Art, Co. Clare, Ireland, coinciding with the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The Biennale issued a thematic call to artistic action based on the centenary and the Irish context and many of the works addressed themes of revolution, war and memorialisation to provide a critical reflection on the past, present and future of the Irish state and the role of culture within a fragmenting Europe. More broadly, the works by over 30 participating artists and collectives addressed the question of the contemporary nation state as it relates to the idea of territory in a global context defined by rising nationalism, fortified boundaries and social instability. Much of the work moved further away from the classic NSK iconography, or blended it productively with local Irish landscapes and symbolism. The Biennale was inspired by two colonised European cultures that larger powers had marked for extinction. Yet, as NSK proved so powerfully in the 1980s, bloody ground can be fertile soil.
Conor McGrady and Alexei Monroe, Organising Committee members of the 2nd NSK State Folk Art Biennale, will present work from the exhibition and discuss the questions it raises. How should contemporary artists respond to politically controversial anniversaries? What is the future of the NSK State and its art? How does NSK Folk Art function in the Irish context? London-based Biennale artists Athanasios Anagnostopoulos and Vera Bremerton will discuss their works, and Sz. Berlin will perform a live electronic soundtrack to its exhibition video. NSK books, merchandise and information will also be available.