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Vlado Martek. Preparing for photography

 Vlado Martek. Preparing for photography


Starting from the second half of the 1950s, the Croatian art scene was marked by numerous innovations in photography, both in regard to its formal sense and content, which opened the complex question of the role of the medium of photography in the contemporary art context. The national contemporary art, as many other milieux, contemplates on the way in which the medium of photography anticipates other artistic media, such as film or painting. The early proto-conceptual developments, as well conceptual praxis which marked 70s allow us to reflect on the situations in which the medium of photography served as a channel to bring information on various artistic strategies.

Within the specific cultural, social and political atmosphere that dominated the Croatia since the 1960s, proto-conceptual and in the 70s conceptual artists based their priorities on the freedom of creation and behaviour, on the autonomy in regard to the state and on the intellectual resistance to the forces that deprived the individual from building his own life in accordance with his personal needs. These artists used humour, irony, poetry and absurdity as a secondary means to somewhat alleviate the conditions, without diminishing the subversive aspect of their works.

One of such artist is Vlado Martek, a poet, conceptual artist, painter, essayist and – photographer. He graduated in philosophy and literature at the Philosophical Faculty in Zagreb. Initially, he started dealing with visual and concrete poetry (he coined the name pre-poetry, and later pre-photography), and since the mid-70s with conceptual art, artist books, self-prints, photography. He consider photography as a material, as an object, a fetish. For him, photography is an action and object at the same time. Photography as a background, an assemblage, a collage; photography as a medium, staged photography, photography as an actual portrait; photography as a document – all those strategies are equally important within the frame of contemporary art in Croatia.

In his words: “Preparing for photography. A cut through photography to reach some other reality, to break automation. Photography as a paper implying materiality, surface, fetish, medium, document.”

Because of his unique approach to the medium, we decided to prepare a monograph about his photographic work, which has never been published before.



Year: 2018

Editors: Sandra Križić Roban, Jelena Pašić, Rafaela Dražić

Publisher: Office for Photography, Zagreb

Distributed by: Office for Photography, Zagreb

Texts by: Sandra Križić Roban, Leonida Kovač, Jasna Jakšić (Museum of Contemporary Art) and Darko Šimičić (Tomislav Gotovac Institute)

Language: English / Croatian

Pages: approx.150

ISBN: 978-953-58679-6-8


  • Edit by: Jelena Pašić
  • Original Title: Vlado Martek. Preparing for photography
  • Year: 2018
  • Publisher: Office for Photography, Zagreb
  • Language: English/Croatian