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Sven Stilinović

Sven Stilinović was still a schoolboy when he started exhibiting with the Group of Six Artists on the streets of Zagreb in 1975. He was not impressed by photographic conventions he learnt at the School of Applied Arts. On the contrary, he was ironically subverting all procedures that he learnt with each and every photographic work he made in that period. Photographic enlargements of small collages in which he recycled fragments of older photographs and tiny objects, as well as series where photographs of garbage interchange in a photographic sequence with photographs of cluttered shops raise the issue of photographic motif, while in Comparison of the development of painting and non-development of photography (1975) he concludes that that which is offered as a history of photography does not lead to its openness and creativity. Distinct feature of his character as well as his art is resistance to all requests and laws of the system. He opposed to all forms of ideology, and mocking at and confronting the power with its own symbols is typical of many of his works: he painted a flag only in black and white relation (1983), cobbled it together with boards (1984-85) and assembled it from disposable shaving razors, from cotton wool (1984-85). Frequent references to Bakunin and his predecessors, Proudhon and Stirner, as well as De Sade, and quoting them in his works reveal a libertine tradition embraced by Sven. His “non-politicality” was political in an anarchistic sense. Proudhon’s idea of “no state, no power, absolute freedom of man and citizen” is reflected in his work. Sven Stilinović especially liked to juxtapose his photographs with the texts from anarchistic thinkers, which emphasise the autonomy of personality stressing revolt as a natural creative negation which cancels all forms of alienation and affirms the innate dignity of man and his wish to realize himself completely in his work. He is prone to researching various things so his work varies from paintings of weapon to expressive installations and performances where he uses animal bones and organs.

 

B.S.

1956, Zagreb / HR, at that time Jugoslavija

 

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