Celostna umetnina Laibach

An illustrated book on Gesamtkunst Laibach (in Slovene)

The book is the first comprehensive presentation and analysis of the Laibach Kunst visual practices from the very beginning of their career. It features their early exhibitions, concert performances, Xerox and graphic art, collages, paintings, posters, video etc. (1980-1985). A number of images (more than 70). quite unknown to the public, are reproduced and interpreted. The documents and photographs are coupled with theoretical explanations of the works as well as the social and cultural context of the time.

From the book:

Laibach visuals and Laibach concert performances seduce the spectator. Fascination with Laibach images, with its stark, dramatic spectacles on one side and the disquiet triggered by the overabundance of symbols on the other cause and reinforce the alienation effect.

Gesamtkunstwerk Laibach works as a totality. From its earliest beginnings,, this strategy has been applied by Laibach in order to develop a specific semantic system with ready mades and cut up techniques as its important constituents. Furthermore, Laibach’s shock tactics and provocations featured methods of collage and bricolage art, borrowings, appropriations and montage, methods of using video, tape recorders and Xerox machines.

Laibach employed what it defined as retro principle and it described its method as retrogardism. Its retrogarde paradigm calls for simultaneous use of motifs originating in different ideologic discourses, belonging to different cultural milieux. Laibach thus combines symbolisms of competing and antithetical political, social and cultural regimes. Laibach projects are therefore open systems, they are never fully accomplished, they constantly evolve, they are necessarily double-edged without their internal contradictions being fully resolved.

In this text I aim to discuss Laibach Kunst in the first half of the 80s, as this was the period of a very intensive Laibach engagement within the alternative scene in Ljubljana, and it was also the period of Laibach’s breakthrough into the world music scene. Using different text and visual sources I will try to recapitulate the history of Laibach’s early exhibitions and multimedia projects.

Author: Barbara Borčić

Soft cover, 150 pages, 11,5 x 19 cm