Like to Like / Mt Triglav, 2004
Photographic reconstruction of OHO's action Mt Triglav
Photo: Tomaž Gregorič
Production: Cornerhouse / A Cornerhouse Commision
Courtesy: Galerija Gregor Podnar
IRWIN’s project called Like to Like (2003–2004) consists of six large-scale color photographs presenting actions and projects in landscape of the group OHO.
IRWIN re-staged six of OHO projects (originally carried out between 1968 and 1970) that all belong to the most representative and best known OHO works.
The living sculpture Triglav was installed in 1986 in the Zvezda park in Ljubljana. David Nez, Milenko Matanović and Drago Dellabernardina performed this action as a New Year gift to the citizens of Ljubljana. Triglav is the highest mountain in Slovenia and Slovene national symbol (it is also presented in the coat of arms of Slovenia). The work is a pun on the mountain’s name that literally means the Three-Head.
As we see the large-scale, perfectly executed color photographs of these projects we necessarily also face questions about the meaning and possible understanding of this work. In the case of OHO project, however, they appropriated OHO’s projects not by using the original photographs, but by re-staging original actions. This difference is strikingly accentuated by the use of the spectacular possibilities of contemporary photography. IRWIN, therefore, did an interesting shift. They repeated the projects, but the composition of the images remains clearly based on (although not identical with) OHO documentary photographs. With the decision to re-stage the actions, IRWIN actually went back to the original logic of the OHO group. They did not use “external” imagery from the documentary photographs, but the original OHO concepts that can be materially executed and repeated anywhere and anytime.
With the project Like to Like, Irwin do not return only to OHO, but also to their own history. In 1985, they made a series of four oil paintings called Like to Like: IRWIN – OHO. The artists combined OHO motifs with one of their own iconic images, the sower. In a reference to OHO’s ideas and practice, they subsequently exposed their works to the effects of the four elements, water, earth, fire, and air.
Re-staging of OHO’s Triglav project refers to numerous IRWIN’s works that deal with images of mountains, and particularly to their interest in the ideological content of the image of mount Triglav that is Slovene national symbol.