Vlado Martek and Siniša Labrović


Galerie Michaela Stock & NEXT DOOR
SINIŠA LABROVIĆ | Artist selling his Skin
Eröffnung: opening:
Samstag, 21. Januar 2017 | 18 – 21 Uhr
Saturday, 21. January 2017 | 6 pm
Eröffnung & Performance:
Siniša Labrović BIRD, 21. January | 6 pm
Ausstellung: 21.1. – 11.3.2017
Schleifmühlgasse 18, 1040 Wien


At their first solo exhibition at Galerie Michaela Stock, the Croatian conceptual artists Vlado Martek and Siniša Labrović question which potential there could be in a work of art. This may lead to the deconstruction of the work of art, questioning the image medium itself. The interest does not focus on the work of art itself, but on the process of image creation and what comes “after” art.
The works displayed in the exhibition are characterised by a construction of “communication” between the different components. An internal structure of a tale about reality appears, which in turn is received as an external dialog between the object and the viewer. Language can be understood as a constituting element of perceiving the world.
Historical, political and cultural aspects are the starting points of the conceptual and performative installations, which mostly use ephemeral and transient materials.


VLADO MARTEK | Preparation for Art
Vlado Martek is a post-conceptual and multimedia artist, poet and writer from Croatia. He was born in Zagreb, where he studied literature and philosophy. According to Dubravka Duric, Martek can be seen as a poet among visual artists and as an artist among poets. The work of Vlado Martek can be seen as avant-garde poetry, or as he himself puts it, “pre-poetry”. Martek has moved towards visual art in order to transcend the limits of language, because according to him, visual language is much more universal. He speaks of himself as a “child of conceptualism”.
In the late 1970s he was a member of neo-conceptual Group of Six Artists. In addition to their “exhibition-actions”, they launched the self-published magazine Maj 75.
This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in Vienna and will focus on poetic experiments and his approach to poetry in visual art. Once Vlado Martek said: “All of poetry can be reduced to the preparations for poetry.” Martek is most interested in the idea that poetry is not a finished, isolated work, but rather comes through the poet, and through the actual conceptualising and writing process. And it’s the same with the art. He is not interested in the work of art as a final product, he presents his ideas in expendable materials, with the stress on the working process.
For Martek, the preparation for art is a mannerist custom, and that minimum is always a reflection and expression of preparation. It is built to a certain limit and a certain height. Then you stop; the process is frozen. The preparing cloud keeps all elements together – the preparation lasts. Awareness, insights and activism are collected – all for the body of art. What fails to appear should also not be created (there is a certain excess of shapes). All beauty of preparation is materialised in the fragments.


SINIŠA LABROVIĆ | Artist selling his skin
Siniša Labrović was born in Sinj, Croatia, is a professor of literature and started to get involved in visual arts in 2000. He is a conceptual artist and uses performance to express himself. He naturally enters his artistic practice on his body, which becomes his tool, medium and artwork at the same time. Using his body to express ideas, he does not restrain himself from often drastic and radical moments or interventions into his own body.
His work is often socially engaged and major themes are the position of man in these times of the domination of the economy and politics, the relationship of the private and the public and the influence of the media culture, often accompanied by a wry sense of humor and irony.
At his first solo exhibition in Vienna Artist selling his skin,  Siniša Labrović will present artworks that are closely linked to performance and in different phases and forms of installation, performance art and sculpture questioning the boundary between art and life. The power of his conceptual performances often lies in a slightly uncomfortable definition of the relationship between the audience and the artist, where the audience is in a way forced to “walk” the thin line between ethically acceptable and unacceptable.
The manifest of art “From Cubism to Suprematism” produced by Malevich calls for absolutely immaterial painting, based on the basic geometric shapes: rectangle, triangle and circle. Pursuing this train of thought, Labrovic uses a performance for the artwork “Artist selling his skin” in order to question these fundamental starting points, and in the end he operates with three different forms of art: performance, painting and sculpture.
The artist who uses his own body as a medium of art blurs the boundaries between artwork and artist. It creates an interesting tension between self and other and has an autobiographical function in that it not only reveals universal themes of significance to the artist but, given the intimacy of the canvas, it also betrays personal preoccupations, and signifies the artist. The use of the human body, the artist skin as canvas (triptych, abstract painting) and putting himself on the art market bring an intense physical and emotional proximity to the piece.
The installation DEATH is connected to contemporary society / consumer society, in which buying or “eating” and selling is the most “colorful” and important social and economic activity – a society dominated by the capitalist profit motive.
The readymade sculpture APPLE, a bitten potato, goes in the direction of self-consciousness, self-knowledge and consciousness of others. In the German language potato is translated as apple of the earth. There is a sense of optimism and self-delusion in a way that we deceive ourselves for surviving:  Reality is so difficult that we need illusion to survive.
The line between art and life should be kept as fluid’s own relationship with the body and bodily practices. Everything is connected to the state of life in the society which mostly thinks of profit – this is very simplified and questioning reality. In some situations we must give up on life just to survive.

Courtesy Galerie Michaela Stock / Sinisa Labrovic / Vlado Martek
Vlado Martek, Vorbereitung, 34,5 x 24,5 cm, Assemblage, 2015
Vlado Martek, Ich respektiere Probleme der Kunst, 24,5 x 35 cm, Assemblage, 2014
Siniša Labrović,  aus der Serie Abstraction: Artist selling his skin for cheap, 2010
Siniša Labrović, aus der Serie Abstraction: Artist selling his skin for cheap, 2010
Siniša Labrović, aus der Serie Abstraction: Artist selling his skin for cheap, 2010


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