• 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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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.


Born in Zagreb, Croatia, 1958.

Stilinović studied at the Photography Department of the School of Applied Arts in Zagreb (Croatia). He was the member of the “Group of Six Artist” (“Grupa šestorice autora”). Stilinović worked on the scenery for theatres, television and rock concerts. He has received the prize “The Youth Salon” (“Salon mladih”) in 1990.

Lives and works in Zagreb, Croatia.

Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2010     “Sven Stilinović“, Waldinger Gallery, Osijek, Croatia

2007     “Sven Stilinović. Photo collages 1974-2005“, Multimedia Cultural Center, Split, Croatia

2006     “Sven Stilinović. Photo collages 1974-2005“, Croatian Association of Artists, Zagreb, Croatia

2005     “Dialogue“, Juraj Klović Gallery, Rijeka, Croatia

2004     “Sven Stilinović: Photographs“, O.K. Gallery, Rijeka, Croatia

2003     “Sven Stilinović: Photographs“, Media Nox Gallery, Maribor, Slovenia

2002     “Geometry of Bloodthirst“, Club Lazareti, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Group Exhibitions (selected):

2016     “Der Geist ist die Memoire“, Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna, Austria

2010     “Masqué – Magazin 4“, Bregenzer Kunstverein, Bregenz, Austria

2009     “Gender Check – Femininity and Masculinity in Eastern European Art“, MUMOK Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria

2007     “10 years of MMC“, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka, Croatia

2006     “On Unknown Works“, Nova Gallery, Zagreb, Croatia

2005     “Collective creativity “, Kunsthalle Friedericianum, Kassel, Germany

2004     “The Monstrous“, Art Pavilion, Zagreb, Croatia

2002     “Innovations - Acquisitions“, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia

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

Books/Exhibition Catalogues


Stipančić, Branka, ed. 2007. O nepoznatim radovima = On unknown works : Boris Cvjetanović, Antonio Gotovac-Lauer [Tomislav Gotovac], Sanja Iveković, Željko Jerman, Julije Knifer, Vlado Martek, Dalibor Martinis, Mladen Stilinović, Sven Stilinović, Goran Trbuljak, Josip Vaništa. Dubrovnik: Art Workshop Lazareti. [Exhib. Cat., Galerija Nova Zagreb (Feb. 17-Mar. 04, 2006); Galerija Otok Dubrovnik (Mar. 11/Apr. 13/May 15, 2006); Galerija ŠKUC Ljubljana (Apr. 16-May 13, 2006)]

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