The ambient installation Death ON/OF Screen presents Mladen Miljanović’s artistic research of the subject of death conducted through various forms of artistic expression intertwined with various anthropological, sociological, genre, critical and ontological aspects in an authentic way.
The exhibition includes works created in the period 2020-2021, when the artist was intensively engaged in the research of death images as well as death of images, where a clear thematic focus on the Covid 19 pandemic can be recognized. The research into the representation models of the images of death, as well as the posthumous representation of artistically objectified forms of industrial products of modern communication technologies, is reflected through parts of the ambient installation – the aforementioned products: computers, mobile phones and digital TV sets. Miljanović shapes them out using the stone processing technique – in the material most often used to mark death, that is, in the eternal remembrance forms, creating, in a semantic sense, a kind of monuments to these devices as technological achievements of modern civilization that were, and through newly produced models are still, basic instruments of media presentation of social everyday life – life and death.
The artist’s intention is to raise the issues with this exhibition, but also to try to give some kind of answer – artistic statements – to the question of which are the social, political or cultural media spaces of death that by their definition speak more about the bare life, as well as, how much life as such (reduced to its basics) is imbued with an idea or fear of death. In addition, in what way is death articulated through the channels of modern communication and how is it distributed through the media? In the exhibited works, there is also a noticeable questioning of the position of death as a potential or resource, as well as, deliberation as to what extent death, like rice, has become a commodity in the world of capital. The entire ambient installation seeks to explore representations, depictions or images of life that become extensions of death, assuming that where life ceases, the image, or representation, continues to live.
Born in Zenica, in 1981. Completed secondary school in Doboj and afterwards attended the Reserve Officer Military School. After completing the military service, he worked in a stonemason’s workshop on producing tombstones. He completed his bachelor’s (2005) and his master’s (2010) degree in painting at the Academy of Arts in Banja Luka. Currently, he is working on his Phd – art project at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, the New Media course. He teaches New Media Art at the Academy of Arts, University of Banja Luka, where he also lives.
Miljanovic is a member of the middle generation of artists who define the regional art scene through international and regional activities. His artistic practice is based upon a conceptual approach which questions its own surrounding and living conditions: on the one hand, his work is influenced by the experience of growing up during the war and its aftermath in a destroyed, impoverished, ethnically and territorially divided and isolated country and, on the other hand, there is the formal education (Reserve Officer Military School, and later work at the tombstones workshop). The consequences of the war and the knowledge gained in the military school all make for the basic field of reference in his artwork. Building on the knowledge structure he acquired as a student of painting, he has been combining new media and conceptual strategies into a pluralistic, engaged and often subversive contemporary artistic approach. In that approach art is not a goal, but more of a tool.
He participated in the 55th Venice Biennale, 15th Busan Biennale and recently 13th Cairo Biennale, in addition to other group exhibits. His solo projects have been exhibited around the World at MUMOK – Vienna (2010); Gallery MC – New York 2012); acb Gallery – Budapest (2014-2017); A+A Gallery – Venice (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art of Republic of Srpska, Banja Luka (2008); Neue Galerie, Graz (2007), to name just a few. He is the recipient of regional and international awards for his artistic practice, such as: “30th Nadežda Petrović Memorial Award” 2020, Čačak (Serbia); “White Aphroid Award” 2019, Maribor (Slovenia); “Henkel Art Award” 2009, Vienna (Austria); “Zvono” award 2007, SCCA Sarajevo (BiH).
The exhibition is supported by: the City of Banja Luka, acb Gallery in Budapest, the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Srpska, the Ministry of Culture and Information of Republic of Serbia, the Academy of Arts of the University of Banja Luka.
Assistance with the realization of the project: Aurora Fonda, Laura Raicovich, Angela Campos Fernandez, Feđa Klikovac, Sven Spieker, Pavel Braila, Amila Puzić, Wolfgang Lehrner, Uroš Čvoro, Doroshenko Konstyantyn, Tijana Mišković, Emira Krupić, Rona Kopecky, Sandra Bradvić, M studio Banja Luka, Zoran Todorović, Štrbac Mikula, Mladen Matović, Slobodan Vidović, Vladimir Klepić, Daniel Grujić, Renato Rakić, Draško Bošnjak, Miodrag Manojlović and Milijana Bojić.
Curator of the exhibition: Mišela Blanuša