Mladen Stilinović 1974 – 2016
We mourn the loss for one of Croatia’s most prominent contemporary artists, Mladen Stilinović. He passed away in Pula Monday night.
The artistic practice of Mladen Stilinović, one of the founders and the liveliest protagonists of conceptual art in Croatia and the region, may be presented by using the key words, i.e. words that introduce the core problem and the procedures that the artist uses: language, ideology, manipulation, appropriation, correction, irony, installation, decontextualisation, exploitation, repetition, tautology…
Whereas all the existing words in Stilinović’s well-known “Dictionary – Pain“ (2000.-2003.) have been crossed out white and changed into one and the same word of unique meaning – pain – in a potential “imperatival dictionary” some words could easily change places and the structure without the change of meaning.
The open structure and the apparent incompleteness have been constants of the artist’s work since the very beginning. In the late 1960s, Stilinović appeared in the medium of experimental film, and in the early 1970s he stabilised in the area of visual arts. He experiments with two ideologies and aesthetics, the West and the East, Marcel Duchamp and Kazimir Malevich, as their characteristic poles, his opus balancing between deadly seriousness and ironic riducule, conscious mystification and ruthless exploitation of dead aesthetics and ideologies.
Even when completed cycles are concerned, such as in commonly quoted cycle “Exploitation of the Dead” (1984.-1989.), there always seems to remain the sense of immediacy, temporality, the possibility of rearranging and upgrading.
Fragmentation, crushedness, fragmented visions are among the basic features of Stilinović’s work that perfectly represent his installation rooms, such as Red-pink.
Nada Beroš for Kontakt. The Art Collection of Erste Group and ERSTE Foundation
Our deepest sympathies and condolences to his beloved.
Vienna, 21 July 2016
Photo: Detail from his work “Red – Pink / Crveno – Roza, 1973-1981” © Kontakt. The Art Collection of Erste Group and ERSTE Foundation