1947, Belgrade, Yugoslavia – 2016, Pula, Croatia
Geometry cakes and…, 1993
sweets, 10 tin plates, wood, fabric
The art of Mladen Stilinović can be said to have two sides. One, in a critical, yet humorous, ironic, and often poetic way, deals with the issues of social power and the position of the poor and exploited. The other speaks about issues beyond reason and language: pain, emptiness, death, nothingness. This aspect is often represented by his use of white (sometimes on a white background), which is an explicit reference to the tradition of avant-garde art, especially that of Malevich. In his Geometry of Cakes he uses references to Russian avant-garde art as well as to the everyday world of modern poor classes, especially factory workers. The basic issue here is the relationship of food, poverty and power. “He that will not work shall not eat” runs a proverb; this sentence is a transformation of an essential demand of the power system into a “generally valid” moral norm. To eat (or to entertain oneself with the cheap glamour and luxury of the pastry shops) simply means to restore oneself sufficiently to be able to continue to work. In such a way, the social and economic powers can control the workers, keep them working, and profit from their labour.
Red Era, 1973–1990
black and white photographs, colored photographs, drawings
"Consumption of red – pink
A part of my work refers to the consumption of the color red in various contents and techniques. Red is a color that has many diverse meanings. By taking it through a variety of contents I wish to divest it of its symbolism, to make it just a color. So our effort, if we wish to read the painting correctly, consists of disregarding our knowledge and not of confirming it. If we try to read the work by means of our knowledge about the color red, we get an absurd reading. But since we are unable to suppress our knowledge, this work is read as symbols and non-symbols.
A part of my work comprises the consumption of the color pink."