Vlado Martek - Poetry in Action

Editor: Branka Stipančić
Text: Branka Stipančić
Translation: Susan Jakopec, Zdenka Ungar
Graphic design: Dejan Kršić
Print run: 1000
Language: Croatian/English
192 pp, b&w, colour; 16,6 x 24 cm
ISBN 978-953-55786-2-8
Price: 20,00 EUR

˝Martek himself divides his poetry into Pre-Poetry, Poetry and Post-Poetry, and this in jumbled order: poetry, written from his earliest youth, pre-poetry, from the end of 1970s and post-poetry from the mid 1980s where he surrendered himself to writing poetry without any self-censorship. Today he engages with all three. (…) The focus here is on Martek’s pre-poetry, as it is a reflection of his Post-Conceptual strivings to which this book is dedicated. Martek the pre-poet did not want to write classical poetry, but that is why it has overflown into the various forms of his art. His 'poetic revolution' first denied poetry, and then transcended it. He dismissed the poem to make room for the 'elementary processes in poetry' – the synergy of the concrete material elements used to write poetry and the ideas of tautology at that time characteristic for Conceptual art and primary painting. He used these processes to render 'violence onto poetry', but also to put it into action, breaking up its immanent static form and opening it up to new possibilities.

In his desire for poetry to be in a social function, Martek promoted ideas close to contemporary urban society; he addressed the audience both on the street and in the gallery. He is conscious, emancipated and open-minded; his strategy is critical and resistance poetic. He does not recognize boundaries and does not like divisions in art; he is interested in all of life’s situations. Many of his poetic actions demonstrate that everything is political. They are lyrical even when the themes are political and vice versa. His longing for justice and beauty is a reflection of his desire for presence, for a fullness in which nothing is strange, in which he as an individual can prove himself.

Martek is also a postmodernist – in his works and actions he often refers to works and ideas from various areas of culture. His references go in all directions, but mostly towards the ideas of writers and poets. Martek, who has spent his entire working age employed in a library, is a connoisseur and enjoyer of literature, philosophy and art. He is an obsessive reader and his art is largely “derived” from the world of the written word – which has always been a haven for this romantic rebel. His work alludes to specific ideas of Surrealism, a certain concept of the world from which special methods are derived, an irreconcilable attitude to life, rebellion, the striving for a new state of mind and different world. He does not call on the power of dreams, but chance carries special significance. His encounters with various elements re sult in unusual combinations, and when looking at his poem-objects and drawings, books and actions, the rational and irrational need to be mutually taken into consideration. As his imagination is poetic, Martek is unpredictable in the visual arts. Poetic images and metaphors are in the background of his works and the constant exchange between the utterly concrete and the metaphoric makes his work that much more intriguing.˝

(Extract from the text by Branka Stipancic, Poetry in Action)