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Artist at work 01

Mladen Stilinović

post Contributor Website

Mladen Stilinović is one of the most well-known Croatian artists. In May 1975, he with Željko Jerman, Vlado Martek, Boris Demur, Sven Stilinović and Fedor Vučemilović formed the Group of Six Artists and exhibited on various locations in Zagreb. Between 1975 and 1979 the group performed over 20 exhibition-actions in the open. From 1978. the Group of Six started publishing the artists’ journal Maj ’75 which by 1984 had seventeen editions. Stilinović’s first solo exhibition was in 1976 in the Gallery Nova in Zagreb. He exhibited his white image series Ruke kruha (Hand of Bread), Strah (Fear), and others as well as his artist's books. The same artist’s books were exhibited at the solo exhibition Izvađen iz gomile (Removed from the Crowd) held at the Gallery of Student Culture Centre (SKC) in Belgrade. For that occasion Stilinović made a small catalogue which he copied manually. He would appropriate the same model – photocopies, original drawings and photographs – for other catalogues he would make for exhibitions held in alternative spaces such as Podrum and the Gallery PM in the 1980s. From the second half of the 1970s and during the 1980s, Stilinović’s main preoccupations are various power relations: power as the focal point of politics, ideology and art, power intertwined in the complex mechanisms of everyday life. The exhibition Eksploatacija mrtvih (Exploitation of the Dead) (1988, then traveling) consisted of densely exhibited works from 1984-1988 period. Stilinović analysed the 20th-century art, appropriating the role of the exploiter by using the poetic of Russian Avant-garde, social realism and geometric abstraction of the 1950s, which he proclaimed dead because in his context they no longer transmitted meaning. From the mid-1990s Mladen Stilinović and Branka Stipančić attended many major international exhibitions and brought back recordings, and prepared presentations for the culture show called Transfer broadcasted on the Croatian Television. In 2000 he started working on Dictionary – Pain. He used the Oxford English Dictionary which he decomposed into individual pages and exhibited them as a continuous content. During his lifetime, Stilinović was the director of Galerija proširenih medija (The Expanded Media Gallery) between 1981 and 1991, and was a cofounder of Galerija Podroom (The Basement Gallery), which operated from 1978 until 1980. He has exhibited in numerous solo and international exhibitions internationally. Stilinović died in July 2016 at the age of 69.

This biography is excerpted from an extensive biography available here on the artist's website.