Spring 2012 has seen something of an explosion of happenings in Britain connected with the Slovenian-origin “State in time” NSK-State. This is the ‘state’ declared in 1992 by the Llubljana-based arts collective (more properly perhaps, collective of collectives) Neue Slowenische Kunst (‘New Slovenian Art’ – but the fact that is in German is not without significance). So Calvert 22, the Russian-owned art gallery in Shoreditch, London, is currently hosting a sort of dual exhibition on the NSK, running until June 24th 2012.
Upstairs we find Irwin (one of the ‘collectives’, who mainly work in fine arts) and their exhibition “Time for a New State”. The work there includes paintings, interspersed with animal taxidermy exhibits, video installations and the like. Downstairs there is an exhibition of folk art, including ceramic plates, video interviews, and a rather Beuys-like sledge-type piece, produced by citizens of the NSK State. There are currently around 14,000 such citizens – people who have sent around 25 euros and an application form to an information bureau in Llubljana and received their NSK passport in return. Urban legends – some of which may or may not have some basis in truth – about these documents’ use as ‘real’ passports abound, such as the alleged pre-2001 entry into the USA by one citizen using only their NSK documentation.