Marina Grzinic and Aina Smid

Marina Grzinic is a philosopher, theorist and artist. While she is internationally known and recognized outside of Slovenia for her writing and contemporary art and theory, my interest here is in her video work with Aina Šmid.

One of Grzinic and Smid’s most compelling pieces is Cindy Sherman or Hysteria Production Presents a Reconstruction of Sherman’s Photographs, from 1984, which is a reworking of Sherman’s portraits utilizing the medium of video. In an interesting turn, Sherman’s work, which was often referred to film and scenography (most notably her Film Stills, which appear to be stills from B-films that are somehow slightly recognizable, despite never actually having existed as films), is now returned to the realm of motion and action through the work of these two artists. Thus the simulacrum that Sherman created is expanded even further – these videos are altered copies of copies that have no originals. The film was made as part of a larger project of reconstructions by IRWIN and NSK (which the artists are members of), entitled “Back to the USA,” and also features music by Borghesia.

Another film that I find interesting is their Post-socialism + Retroavant garde + Irwin (1997), which examines the concept of “retro-avant-garde,” at the heart of the NSK movement, as well as the work of Laibach and NSK. This “retro principle” involves an eclecticism of sources, from the historic avant-garde to national myths and culture, as well as religion. It is described as “a constant permutation of the ways of viewing, the reinterpretation and reproduction of art models from both past and present” (IRWIN, 1984).