Curator: Michal Kolecek Though already one of the most significant contemporary artists on the Croatian scene, Slaven Tolj—a multimedia artist, organizer of art activities and curator—has recently achieved international recognition for his inconspicuous Ready-mades, installations, photography, and performances presenting distinct political and social- -cultural criticism.
Slaven Tolj was born in 1964 in Dubrovnik and he has remained faithful to this town with unique genius loci where he develops his creative and curatorship activities to date. Slaven Tolj's artistic beginnings were strongly influenced by the experience of war events. A number of significant artworks were created in relation to the military blockade of Dubrovnikby. These works formed Tolj's specific expressional strategy, such as dematerialization of the artefact, performative procedures, site-specific models, as well as various modifications of Duchamp-style ready-mades. In this sense, Tolj follows the relatively liberal atmosphere of Yugoslavian art of 1970's and early 1980's. In the course of time Slaven Tolj was extending the discourse of his creation, which naturally incorporated key topics connected with the political and social transformation, as well as with the radical incursion of globalization tendencies into the rigid posttotalitarian milieu. Besides the site-specific installations or pseudo-documentary photographs, the author also started to use the medium of performance, and at the same time, video-documentation resulting from it.
Besides his own artistic production, Slaven Tolj has always been involved in organizational and curatorship activities. As early as in 1988, he founded Art Workshop Lazareti in Dubrovnik – one of the most active Croatian centres of contemporary art. Meanwhile, Tolj himself has achieved a reputation in the context of contemporary European art, which has been convincingly proved by his participation in many important exhibitions of European, especially posttotalitarian art.
(Based on the text of Michal Kolecek)
The exhibition, which first opened in April 2007 in the Emil Filla Gallery, Ústí nad Labem, will be on view in the Arsenal Gallery Bialystok in May 2009.