• Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb)
    20 September – 11 November 2017

    The Showroom (63 Penfold St, Marylebone, London NW8 8PQ, UK) Curated by: What, How & for Whom/WHW, in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg, co-curated by Emily Pethick Preview: Tuesday 19 September, 6.30–8.30pm Exhibition opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12–6pm The Showroom presents the epilogue of a long-term project which took place over several months in Zagreb (November 2016 to May 2017), which contextualised and rethought the Kontakt Art Collection. It was curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg. This final exhibition is co-curated by The Showroom Director Emily Pethick. Taking selected works from the Vienna-based Kontakt Art Collection as its point of departure, including seminal pieces by some of the most prominent artists from Central, Eastern and South-East Europe since the 1960s, the exhibition stages an interplay between these and other historical, contemporary and newly produced works that interpret and critically examine the collection. The project unfolded in six episodes in Zagreb, each iteration influencing, contradicting and reinforcing each other. It took place in a number of smaller art spaces, artists' studios, private apartments and other locations related to artistic production and the broader cultural landscape of the city. This final stage of the project at The Showroom continues to reframe and expand the context of the collection. Interlacing geographically and poetically heterogeneous artist practices, the project attempts to punctuate standardized presentations and interpretations of works that have dominated international art circuits over the last few decades, with more disorderly and experimental arrangements. The project title is taken from a work by Croatian artist Mladen Stilinović (1947–2016), to whom the project is dedicated. Stilinović's life-long anti-systemic approach, his quiet but shrewd rebellion against social conventions and the conventions of art, and an artistic practice that trenchantly and humorously engages with complex themes of ideology, work, money, pain and poverty, inspired a generation of artists worldwide. The project is a cooperation with Kontakt Art Collection and is supported by Erste Group Bank AG and ERSTE Foundation.


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Mladen Stilinović

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 used: 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 stabilized in the area of visual arts. He experimented 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 ridicule, conscious mystification and ruthless exploitation of dead aesthetics and ideologies.

Even when completed cycles are concerned, such as the 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."


Born in Belgrade, Serbia, 1947. Died in Pula, Croatia in 2016.

Stilinović was, together with his brother Sven Stilinović, Fedor Vučemilović, Boris Demur, Vlado Martek, and Željko Jerman, a member of the “Group of Six Authors” in Zagreb (Croatia) from 1975 to 1979. His works include collages, photographs, artist's books, paintings, installations, actions, films and video.

Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2011     “Sing! Mladen Stilinović Retrospective”, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary

2010     “Mladen Stilinović”, VOX contemporary image, Montreal, Canada

2009     “Mladen Stilinović. Artist’s Books. Index”, The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden

2008     “Mladen Stilinovic”, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria

2007     “Subtracting of Zeroes / Mladen Stilinović “, Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul, Turkey

2005     “Artist At Work”, Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Group Exhibitions (selected):

2012     “Doppio Gioco. Double Game The Ambiguity of the Photographic Image”, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice, Italy

2011     “Scenes from Zagreb: Artists”, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, USA

2010     “Les Promesses du passé”, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

2009     “The Making of Art”, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

2008     “ARTEAST 2000”, Umetnostna Gallery, Maribor, Slovenia

2007     “History Started Playing with my Life”, The Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon, Israel

2006     “Kontakt ... aus der Sammlung der Erste Bank-Gruppe“, MUMOK Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria

2005     “Arbeit*“, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria

2004     “De ma Fenêtre, des artistes et leur territoire“, École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris, France

2003     “Blut & Honig. Zukunft ist am Balkan“, Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austria

2002     “In search of Balkania“, Neue Galerie Graz, Graz, Austria

This bibliography provides a list of books available in the
ERSTE Foundation Library

Books/Exhibition Catalogues


Gregory, Jarrett, Valdez, Sarah, eds. 2011. Ostalgia. New York: New Museum.


Stipančić, Branka, ed. 2011. SING!  Budapest: Ludwig Museum.


Sudac, Marinko, ed. 2011. Podrucǰe zastoja = Standstill: kolekcija Marinko Sudac = Marinko Sudac collection. Zagreb: Avangarde Research Institute.


Grammel, Słoren, Laanemets, Mari, eds. 2008. Mladen Stilinović: On Money and Zeros. Berlin: Revolver Publishing.


Stilinović, Mladen, artist. 2007. Vrijedanje anarhije. Maribor: Kulturno izobraževalno društvo Kibla.


Stipančić, Branka, Milovac, Tihomir, eds. 2007. Exploitation of the Dead. Mladen Stilinović. Zagreb: Museum of Contemporary Art.


Stipančić, Branka, ed. 2007. Artist's Books 1972-2006. Mladen Stilinović. Istanbul: Platform Garanti, Contemporary Art Center.


Eiblmayr, Silvia, ed. 2005. Arbeit*. Frankfurt: Revolver. Archiv für aktuelle Kunst.


Gregorič, Alenka, Stipančić, Branka, eds. 2005. Artist at work 1973-1983 = Umetnik na delu 1973-1983. Mladen Stilinović. Ljubljana: Galerie Škuc.


Boutin, Nathalie. 2004. De ma fenêtre: des artistes et leurs territoires. Paris: École nationale supériere des beaux-arts.


Frisinghelli, Christine, Križić Roban, Sandra, eds. 2004. Ostati ili otići = Bleiben oder gehen = Staying or leaving. Zagreb: Croatian Photographic Union.


Milovac, Tihomir, Stipančić, Branka, eds. 2003. Pain. Mladen Stilinović. Texts by Igor Zabel et al. Zagreb: Museum of Contemporary Art.


Stilinović, Mladen. 2003. Texts. Zagreb.


Beroš, Nada, Milovac, Tihomir Milovac. 2001. The cynicism of the poor = Cinizam siromašnih. Mladen Stilinović. Zagreb: Museum of Contemporary Art [Exhib. Cat., Museum of Modern Art Zagreb (Dec. 13, 2001-Jan. 20, 2002)]


Nikitović, Spomenka. 1998. Mladen Stilinović. Documentation by Darko Šimičić. Zagreb: SCCA, Soros Center for Contemporary Arts.

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  • Photo: Adam Savoky
  • Photo: Adam Savoky
  • Photo: Adam Savoky

  • Photo: Adam Savoky