(Slovenia, 1962 – 1971)

The OHO Group was a Slovenian Neo-Avant-Garde conceptual group, active, in various phases, from 1962 to 1971. They started as the Kranj Avant-Garde group (1962 – 65), which transformed into the OHO Movement (1965 – 68), and then the OHO Group (1969 – 71). The core members were Marko Pogačnik, Iztok Geister Plamen, and Marjan Ciglič, and over the year additional collaborators were included – Milenko Matanović, Andraž Šalamun, Tomaž Šalamun, Naško Križnar (author of most of OHO group films), David Nez, Matjaž Hanžek, Vojin Kovač Chubby, Aleš Kermauner, Franci Zagoričnik, … The period of OHO-Katalog (1966 – 70) included also a literary historian Taras Kermauner, art theorists Braco Rotar and Tomaž Brejc, philosophers and cultural theorists Rastko Močnik and Slavoj Žižek, and the group was in large part gathered around the Problemi magazine.

The group’s early stages are connected to the Plamenica magazine, which Pogačnik and Ciglič edited during their high school education at the Kranj High School. The OHO Manifesto was published in 1967 in the student newspaper „Tribuna“. The group’s name arose from the blending of two Slavic words, “oko” (eye) and “uho” (ear). Supposedly it marked the need to unify the sense for the new outlook on the world. Reism is an attempt to transcend the anthropocentric world view to a world of things, to a non-anthropocentric system in which people exist on an equal level with all that surrounds them. Each thing is viewed, seen, and considered in its unique state.

The OHO group members wanted their art to challenge the set views on the world and on art. An artwork was no longer connected to traditional media – it can be executed in any media, it is no longer limited to the art sphere, but on any aspect of everyday life, it can be expanded, it no longer relies solely on its creator, it can be an action which would result in a change of relationships or the surroundings.

Film was one of the media in which the OHO group members created, and they also created visual and concrete poetry, published OHO publications, performed happenings, and actions in urban spaces, and with that, it can be linked to other similar artistic phenomena such as Fluxus.

Their work can be observed in three phases. The first phase of their work was related to the philosophy of Reism. The second phase can be connected with Arte Povera, body-art and ambient art, performance, experimental film, land art, and interventions in nature, while the third phase is characterised by transcendental conceptualism.

The group separated amicably and consciously after the Information exhibition in MoMA, New York, in 1970 to allow for the next creative phase to develop. The group’s members did not want to go professionally into the international system of art and institutions. Later, in 1971, when the OHO group members stopped the joint activities, Pogačnik founded the Family from Šempas – a group, commune-like, in which the artistic practice and everyday life intertwined fully, and was active until 1979.