Irina Birger by Marcel van der Vlugt


With her multicultural background, Irina Birger learned how to adapt to very different cultures, and as an artist, she creatively overcame many struggles. To this date she is fascinated with human nature and its desire to belong to social groups, to be a part of a community and identify with its people. The need for connectedness between members of social groups and how it is manifested in daily life is the key issue in her work, in its factual meaning and as an abstract structure. In her research, the constant attraction of the self with the social is a central theme. From the artist’s position as an observer, Irina tries to eliminate the barriers between the singular and the group while acknowledging individuality, and by doing so enabling forms of coexistence. She uses a range of strategies and methods to encourage this connection, such as personal sharing and staging in specific spheres and locations.

Growing up in the Soviet Union, Irina experienced the powerful mechanisms of propaganda that repressed independent thought and inquiry. Its methods were not just practical, but also extremely visual. Social Realist style and Stalinist Imperial architecture greatly influenced her artistic development. Their monumental arrangements inspire admiration, humility, and wonder, similar to the visual impact of the sacred formations. As a result, Irina is strongly interested in the visual strategies and formal principles of different religions, cults, and totalitarian regimes, and incorporates them in her work. Central symmetry, patterns, slogans, and monumental approach often appear in her projects.

Drawing is Irina’s modus operandi. She uses this medium not only on paper but as a site-specific part of an installation, in video works and her participatory performances.

Irina was born in Moscow and lived in Serbia as a teenager. She studied fine arts at the Bezalel Academy of Fine Art and Design in Jerusalem and at Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.
She exhibited and participated in screenings a.o. in Israel Museum (IL), Tel Aviv Museum (IL), Haifa Museum of Art (IL), Mediamatic (NL), W139 (NL), Apexart (US), the Israeli Centre for Digital Art (IL), Chinese European Art Centre (CN), Today Art Museum (CN), Redtory (CN), Drawing Center Diepenheim (NL), Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (NL), Kabinet T (CZ), Nieuw Dakota (NL), Nieuw Dakota (NL), Amsterdam Drawing (NL), Viborg Kunsthal (DK), AMNUA (CN) and Q21 (AT).

She was an artist in residency at a.o. Chinese European Art Centre (CN), the Israeli Center for Digital Art (IL), MeetFactory (CZ), Kunstlerhaus Bethanien (DE) and Museums Quartier (AT). 

Her works are part of many private and public collections such as Haaretz LTD (IL), Israel Museum (IL), C-Collection (Lichtenstein), EYE Collection (NL) and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (NL).

Irina’s work is generously supported by Mondriaan Fund.