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Vlado Martek

Croatia
b. 1951
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“Poetry is a process. That is to say, on this level of understanding a poem-work does not exist.”

Born in 1951 in Zagreb (Croatia), Vlado Martek graduated in literature and philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb in 1976. Initially, he was engaged in visual and concrete poetry, “pre-poetic”, as he defined at his first exhibition. Lately, he has returned to create conceptual projects. Through his work, he offers analytical, critical, ironic and humorous comments on societal structures and constructs. Typically he engages in linguistic subversion, oscillating between the visual arts, poetry and his own artforms of pre- and post-poetry.

Martek’s work can be viewed through the lens of avant-garde poetry, and many of his own interventions in language are inspired by early experimental poets. Following the notion that a poem is made and not written, Martek breaks the poem down to its sheer material components of paper, pencil and the occasional word. In his work, the alphabet, the foundation of language and thus also of (classical) poetry, are seen as the symbolic source of all knowledge. He lives and works in Zagreb.

The Soul, 2007

paper, ink, pencil, acrylic on paper, 40 x 29 cm

Martek’s drawings as images/collages and his images as text/collages depict the concept of the artist and how he experiences the world. All of his visual surfaces are an attempt to understand the self and the world: works which document the struggle between the personality, the world and the individual in the south-eastern part of Central Europe.