Retroprincip book series – Irwin Group – onestar press
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Irwin Group, Retroprincip book series
Published 2003

140 x 225 mm
150 pages
Cover: Paperback, color, glossy finish
Binding: glue bound
Interior: black and white
Edition limited to 250 numbered copies
Price: 35 €

The present publication presents five books, the final products of five projects extending over the last thirteen years. The beginnings of the first project, Kapital, reach back to the period of the socialist social system, which, however, was already over by the time we issued the first publication. On the other hand, the publication that addresses the last of the five projects will come out in an integral version at a time when Slovenia will already be a fully-fledged member of the European Union. Thus the projects literally connect the two ends of the period called the transitional period. But it is not only this external overlapping that links the presented line of projects with the notion of transition. Transformation itself is the theme and subject matter of the Retroprincip book series.

The projects presented have many points in common, but here we will point out only two that we regard as being of key significance. All the projects deal with reflections on modern art in Eastern Europe and all of them envisaged, from the very beginning, the production of a book as their final artifact. If an artist does not reflect on his work himself, if he fails to articulate it in communication or writing, then someone else will do so instead. A problem arises when there is no such someone, when the art system of a particular space is organized such that it hinders communication and articulation. Then the only possibility of communicating with contemporary art production is to assume and refer to someone else's articulation. And if we hold the view that text is not an external objectivizing addendum to art production but an internal, integral part of it, then we have to undertake communication and articulation on our own. Our suspicions about the differences in the operation of Eastern and Western art systems (here, we do not have in mind differences stemming from the different political systems) were confirmed already in the course of the Kapital project. A great number of empirical facts and the small things that co-shape the conditions of production convinced us again and again that differences no doubt exist. If we take K. Marx at least a bit seriously, then we can not circumvent the claim that it is precisely the conditions of production that fatefully define the production itself. Difference in conditions is reflected in different production. The Retroprincip book series opens with a thesis about the specific conditions of art production in the East. Through discussions, most of which took place during our journeys to Moscow and across the US, we tried to articulate this difference, which materialized in an open conflict during the Interpol project. Since the difference in regulating communication, articulation and inscription, which is tackled by the Retroprincip book series, gradually emerged as the key difference, the series concludes with East Art Map.

IRWIN, April 2003, Ljubljana

Realized with the support by International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Layout: Irwin