A VISUAL WARNING
In his independent projects and activities in formal and informal groups of artists, Zhivko Kladnik continuously keeps pace with certain neo-avant-garde processes. For example, he frequently makes use of ready-made processes (recycling or the use of discarded materials in art objects) in the framework of "visual and concrete poetry", a concept linked to a large part of Kladnik's gallery projects. Another important creative process is collage – the compilation of cut-outs from newspapers and magazines, photographs, movie posters and photocopies. Like the ready-made approach, collage embodies an indivisible intertwining of images and words. The author thus links personal/testimonial components with provocative directness and a proactive, socially critical stance. The latter can also be noted in the cycle of works presented here, which took shape following an extended period of creative introspection and preparation. This was a precondition for the subject matter which serves as the basis for the works, as Zhivko Kladnik is calling our attention to one of the largest acts of genocide in recent European history.
Photos depicting mothers mourning beside coffins, taken at the interment of 775 of the over 8,000 Muslim victims of the Srebrenica massacre at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in Potochari, were picked up by media throughout the world on 11 July 2010; sadly their tragic and disturbing message was quickly blocked out by other stories from elsewhere in the world that caught the media's attention. Kladnik felt that he could use the tools provided by visual art to place emphasis on the warning that the photographs present to all of mankind. He connected the photos with newspaper obituaries, stylised depictions of coffins containing various portraits, black ribbons and the words of the Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca (1898–1936), who himself was murdered by soldiers under Franco's Fascist regime: "Green, how I want you green". The collages were then outfitted with discarded frames of different shapes and sizes.
The 14 works in the cycle correspond to the 14 stations of the cross, an iconographic motif used by artists in the Western European Roman Catholic tradition to depict the path along which Jesus bore the cross from Jerusalem to Calvary. Some of the collages also contain a photograph of an expressive wooden sculpture of Jesus on the cross. The network of associations that Zhivko Kladnik has woven encompasses us as well, and the author points this out by incorporating photographs of people he knows and famous persons in the collages.