Laibach Kunst is a cross-platform Slovene arts collective, founded in 1980 in the mining town Trbovlje. The name Laibach (Austro-German for the capital city Ljubljana) as well as the group's para-miltarised/totalitarian appearance, propagandist manifestos and provocative political appropriations have raised many debates on their actual political positioning.
Many theorists, starting with Taras Kermauner and Slavoj Žižek, have discussed the Laibach-phenomenon from both analytical and critical-cultural perspectives.
The main elements of Laibachs’ varied practices were: strong references to avantgarde art history, socialist realism and totalitarian iconography in their production of painting and graphic art, de-individualisation in their public performance (as an anonymous quartet dressed in uniforms), conceptual proclamations, and forceful, monumental concerts.
In 1984, Laibach initiated the founding of the wider artistic formation NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst) along with the painters from IRWIN and the theatre group Scipion Nasice. These groups were later joined by the graphic department Novi Kolektivizem, the Department of Pure and Applied Philosophy and more.
NSK created a strong cultural vanguard that paradoxically interacted with and contributed to the climate of liberalisation and pluralisation in 1980s Yugoslavia.
After the break-up of Yugoslavia Laibach operated primarily within the realm of popular music, while remaining a reference point in terms of artistic cultural criticism. In the meantime Laibach Kunst continued to develop a challenging conceptual art practice using various media ranging from painting, graphics, and performance to video and sound.