Exploitation of the Dead
The Exploitation of the Dead cycle is composed of a very large number of elements which the artist reorganizes differently every time. The installation is presented like a “parade of objects”, with images whose historical role has been suspended or their meaning has changed. The references have become lost, through repetition the works have become banal. One can find copies of Suprematist or Social Realist paintings, collages, photographs of political meetings, cemeteries or other memorials. We are confronted with the obsolescence of signs. Colors like red and black have also lost their meaning.
Exploitation of the Dead concerns today’s religious or ideological ideas which are only extensions of religions and ideologies of the past and definitively dead. Mladen Stilinovic insists that: “If death has to be exploited, this is a violent act and we need to weigh up the consequences.” Collective rituals are central since they evoke a certain collective emotion which can’t quite be attained through signs and colors. This work is a way to think about painting but also the modalities of its exhibition. There is also this question of the copy. Why and how do we copy things? What do we learn through repetition ? About loss of integrity ?
Mladen Stilinovic's work is based on social and political critique, with a healthy dose of irony. He was part of Grupa šestorice autora (Group of Six Authors), active in Zagreb between 1975 and 1979. He also ran the Extended Media Gallery from 1981 to 1991. His work is deeply rooted in the rites that reveal the interdependence of private and public spheres. He is particularly interested in the interaction between visual and linguistic signs as well as in the mechanisms of deconstruction in language. His polymorphic approach finds varied manifestations from collages, installations, photographs, books, performances, actions in public space as well as participations in collective actions.
Mladen Stilinovic was born in 1947 in Belgrade, Serbia. He lives and works in Zagreb, Croatia.