Exhibition layout: Neven Bilić, Siniša Labrović, Marija Stipišić Vuković
"...The main appeal of Bilić's sculptures has always been their sophistication. They are perceptively, visually and optically crystal clear and dignified. They represent examples of a thorough analysis which presupposes certain serenity and contemplative fervour and definitely excludes 'instinctive' modelling and attempts to assail material or form. They live and exist in space without pedestals, in close communication with the viewer, in witty and cheerful playfulness of organic and inorganic, positive and negative forms, the relationship between fullness and emptiness, the soft and the hard, the matter and the space surrounding the form and engaging in lively dialogue with it. The pronounced architectonic character of Bilić's sculptures has been mentioned repeatedly. It is indisputable and owes to his knowledge of architecture which is frequently thematically treated in his sculptures. In the production of his works a certain synthesis of computer and technical consistency and accuracy is also noticeable...
Over the past few years this author has replaced traditional materials – bronze, wood, granite, stone - with light polyurethane. In time his forms loose ther classical austerity, firmness and compactness, they become softer, rounded and broken with open, hollow and stratified elements. Geometrical elements are replaced with organic. His interest is directed towards serial production and the multiplication of elements which are harmoniously connected, constructed to make a whole, and which he has been attending to and developing ever since. In recent years these replicating modules have become a kind of his distinctive sign uniting the characteristics of a rebus or a puzzle. The repetitions of the same idea in numerous variations are equally powerful in each sculpture. The break from traditional sculpture is evident both in Bilić's choice of material and in his rejection of conventional sculptural procedures such as carving and modelling...
In his recent series Bilić creates an impression of openness and transparence and conveys a mixture of present and omnipresence, pensiveness and emotionality, personality and symbolism. It also reflects the abundance of the author's inner worlds: the intensity of inspiration, the freshness of ideas and the concentrate of experience. With all these elements he invites us for a close conversation, visual and tactile reading of surface and direct communication with volume's form..."
Marija Stipišić Vuković
"...By denouncing the colonial complexes of the local culture – which, again, are by no means typical of the Croatian culture alone, but rather a consequence of the global, centuries-long normative and colonial enforcement of Eurocentric culture as the universal cultural achievement – Labrović does not mean to say that the answer and the resistance lies in the bagpipes, sheep, hajduks, or fists. However, this in turn does not mean that Labrović is not serious when he says that his artistic career, or rather his artistic sensibility, began to evolve while grazing cows in his childhood. And his constant references to Sinj as his birthplace are far from being a mere charming ornament to his artistic biography. What we must take seriously in all that is not any sort of local patriotism, or a romanticization of shepherding, but rather the perhaps self-understandable, yet nonetheless insufficiently acknowledged fact that creativity, including the artistic, and the “contemporary artistic” creativity, is not born only in schools, kindergartens, galleries, museums, and art academies in large urban centres. Creativity can indeed draw its genealogy from the activity of grazing a cow called Zelenka. That is one of the reasons why Labrović, in some general sensibility, can be placed side to side with artists such as Mladen Stilinović, Tomislav Gotovac, Vlasta Delimar, or Željko Jerman, since their common trait is precisely that extra-academic artistic genealogy and formation...
In order to disclose the complexes and “open wounds” of the Croatian and, more broadly, post-Yugoslav society and culture, Labrović has opened himself up as a vulnerable agent, perhaps even a wounded man in need of some bandaging. Since all strategies of masquerade, mimicry, “over-identification” etc. have their reverse, and lead into troubled waters and sometimes even dead ends, implicated in the very acts of self-exoticization, self-primitivization, and self-animalization, we may say that he too has paid a double price. Not in the form of money that can buy everything, including the law, like in the aforesaid joke, but in a far more personal, human, artistic, and political currency. And to what end? Perhaps so that, in a similar gesture of rejecting the typically “bourgeois purity of work” and the “rhetoric of the urban milieu,” we may eventually – literally, metaphorically, or in whatever form, and without fear and shame – ourselves take a piss."
Neven Bilić was born in Zagreb in 1972. He graduated from the School of Applied Arts and Design in 1991. In 1995 he graduated sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, in the class of professor Stanko Jančić. He currently works as an assistant professor at the Sculpture Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. In the year 2006 he enrolled in the Postgraduated Doctoral Programme in Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb (mentor professor Slavomir Drinković). He lives and works in Zagreb.
Siniša Labrović was born in Sinj in 1965. He has been a practising visual artist since 2000. In the year 2005 he created a work named "Stado.org / Flock.org" in which sheep were participants in a reality show. Notable among his performance art pieces are the following works: "Gloria" (one-stringed fiddle performance of texts from women's magazine Gloria), "Kažnjavanje / "Punishing", "Obilježavanje / Marking" and "Zavijanje ranjenika / Bandaging the Wounded" as well as series "Fraze / Phrases" and "Pišanje / Pissing". On 11th International Istambul Biennial in 2009 he presented his work "Postdiplomsko obrazovanje / Postgraduate education". He represented Croatia on the 13th Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2012, along with the Pula Group, Hrvoje Brkušić, Igor Bezinović and Boris Cvjetanović. His works are exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, the Gallery of Fine Art in Zagreb, the Gallery of Fine Arts in Split and the Dubrovnik Art Gallery. He lives and works in Zagreb.