• Poetry & Performance / The Eastern European Perspective
    22 December 2017 − 10 March 2018

    Nová synagóga, Žilina, Slovakia Poetry & Performance / The Eastern European Perspective 22/12/17 –  10/03/18 Loans by Kontakt: Vlado Martek: Ciklus Soneti / Sonnet Cycle, 1978-79 Raša Todosijević: Znak / Sign, 1971; Skulptura / Sculpture, 1971; Was ist Kunst, Patricia Hennings? / What is Art, Patricia Hennings?, 1976; Was ist Kunst, Marinela Koželj? / What is Art, Marinela Koželj?, 1978 Tamás St. Auby: Kentaur / Centaur, 1973-1975/ 2009 Curators: Sabine Hänsgen, Tomáš Glanc, Daniel Grúň Nová synagóga in Žilina presents the exhibition Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective curated by Tomáš Glanc, Daniel Grúň and Sabine Hänsgen. The exhibition brings together more than forty artists, poets and creative groups from the countries of the former Eastern Europe as well as contemporary artistic positions. The exhibition will be opened on December 22nd from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. by a series of several performances and will run until March 10th 2018. In the second half of the twentieth century, poets and artists in particular took up the challenge of reflecting on and investigating the instrumentalization of language for communicative and political-ideological purposes. They did so by drawing attention to the “made-ness” of language, its material and medial dimension, and by creating performative situations for themselves and their audiences within which possibilities of verbal expression could be tested and acted out. In Eastern Europe, poetry and performance played a significant role in the unofficial or partially tolerated cultural scene. The writing practice of samizdat and its relation to the devices of concrete and visual poetry have been treated and presented in a number of previous projects. Until now however, less consideration has been given to the circumstances of performance. In addition to the typescript literature of samizdat, subcultural milieus attached particular importance to the oral recitation of poems, exhibitions, and poetry actions. The interrelation between text and situation in poetic acts functioned as a trigger for performances and happenings. The exhibition presents authors from subcultures in socialist states along with contemporary positions that continue the legacy of combining poetry and performance. It shows the efforts of poets and artists to break free from controlled language and normative communicative now and then. Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective thus confronts the current social challenges in the post-socialist countries through the prism of language and ideology and looks back at their points of departure. Artists: Milan Adamčiak, Pavel Arsenev, Babi Badalov, Bosch+Bosch (Attila Csernik, Slavko Matković, László Szalma), Collective Actions Group, Ľubomír Ďurček, Else Gabriel / Via Lewandowsky, Rimma Gerlovina, Tomislav Gotovac, Group of Six Artists, Bohumila Grögerová / Josef Hiršal, Gino Hahnemann, Václav Havel, Jörg Herold, Semyon Khanin (Orbita), Kinship Moho (Zuzana Jasenková, Kristína Országhová, Magdaléna Scheryová), Dávid Koronczi, Katalin Ladik, Yuri Leiderman / Andrey Silvestrov, Vlado Martek, Andrei Monastyrski, Monogramista T.D, Ladislav Novák, Pavel Novotný, NSRD (Hardijs Lediņš, Juris Boiko, Imants Žodžiks), OHO Group (Nuša & Srečo Dragan, Naško Križnar), Boris Ondreička, Orange Alternative, Roman Osminkin, Ewa Partum, Bogdanka Poznanović, Dmitri Prigov, Lev Rubinstein, Nóra Ružičková / Marianna Mlynárčiková, Mladen Stilinović, Gabriele Stötzer, Tamás Szentjóby, Bálint Szombathy, Raša Todosijević, Jaromír Typlt, Jiří Valoch. Nová synagóga, Žilina, Slovakia J. M. Hurbana 220/11, 010 01 Wednesday — Sunday, 1 p.m. — 7 p.m. free entry (voluntary)


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Vlado Martek

Vlado Martek entered into the field of visual art by writing poetry. In the mid-1970s, his poetry acquired special forms: he extracted poetry from the book and incorporated it into “poetic objects” made of mirrors, clay and books, he wrote poster poetry and graffiti which he exhibited in exhibitions-actions held by the neo-conceptual Group of Six Artists (1975-1979) in the streets and squares of Zagreb and other places.

Martek called himself a "pre-poet" and invested effort into "purifying" poetry to such an extent that he reduced it to the level when he emphasized reality of the elements which constitute materiality of the poem. Hence, the poem consists of various backgrounds used for writing, pencils, rubbers, alphabet, poetic forms …

In many of his works, Martek wanted to capture his mental state at the moment when he prepared to write poetry. Hence, his slogans with the topic "re-valuation of poetry" state the following: "Every act of picking up a pencil is an act of honesty", or "Before I write a poem, I must collect garbage from my street" (which the author did as a performance) or "Before I write a poem, I have to go to an Island" (which he has not done yet).

His works on poetry represent just a fragment of the activities of this multimedia artist. His work is consisting of collages, photos, sketches and drawings, actions and agitations, graphics and artist's books (samizdat) which he uses to express his attitudes, and most frequently his permanent rebellion against different authorities, be it artistic, political or religious. At the same time, Martek remains analytical and ironic, poetic and very funny.



1951, Zagreb / HR, at that time Jugoslavija

Martek studied Philosophy and Literature in Zagreb (Croatia) in the early 1970s. In the mid-seventies, he founded and was a member of the Group of Six Authors in Zagreb, together with Mladen and Sven Stilinović, Fedor Vučemilović, Boris Demur and Željko Jerman. Martek works as poet, visual artist and writer.

Lives and works in Zagreb, Croatia.

Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2012     “The Power of Support/Die Kraft des Untergrunds”, Aanant & Zoo, Berlin, Germany

2011     “Vlado Martek. Read Mallarmé”, Frank Elbaz Gallery, Paris, France

2010     “Vlado Martek: Poetry in action”, Miroslav Kraljevic Gallery, Zagreb, Croatia

2004     “Vlado Martek”, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Group Exhibitions (selected):

2012     “The Present and Presence”, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2011     “Museum of Parallel Narratives. In the framework of L’Internationale”, MACBA Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

2010     “Gender Check - Rollenbilder in der Kunst Osteuropas“, MUMOK Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria

2009     “Who killed the painting? Werke aus der Sammlung Block”, Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Germany

2008     “Why here is always somewhere else”, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany

2007     “On Unknown Works”, Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia

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

2005     “FIRST PERSON SINGULAR”, Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik, Croatia

2004     “Love it or Leave it”, 5. Cetinje Biennale, Cetinje, Montenegro

2003     “In den Schluchten des Balkan“, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany

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


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


Stipančić, Branka, ed. 2010. Vlado Martek: Poezija u akciji = Poetry in action. Zagreb: DeLVe.


Rus, Zdenko, 2008. Vlado Martek 1973 – 2007: retrospektivna izloba = A retrospective exhibition. Zagreb: Moderna galerija.


Šuvaković, Miško, ed. 2002. Martek: fatalne figure umjetnika: eseji o umjetnosti i kulturi XX. stolje\89ca u Jugoistnočnoj, Istočnoj i Srednjoj Europi kroz djelo (vanje) umjetnika Vlade Marteka. Engl./Croat. Zagreb: Meandar.


Kolekcja artystow = Artist's collection. 1973-1993. 1993. Krakow: Fundacja Wyzwolenia Kultury.
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