Dragan Ilić, Arist talk

Friday, 11. 11. 2016, at 21.00

"The starting point of my work is a conceptual analysis and a de/reconstruction of the process of drawing in the form of an inscription of bodily activities on paper, which opens the space for communication of ideas or realization of specific artistic intentions.

In the first half of the 1970s, prompted by frequent conflicts with artistic, social and political establishment and attempts to find new ways of expression, I intuitively grabbed an entire handful of wooden pencils and began to draw. The change that can be traced in my work at precisely that point has occurred as a result of discovering new possibilities in classical artistic disciplines such as drawing."

Dragan Ilić: RoboAction A1 D1. A performance and installation where the artist is mounted on an industrial robot arm guiding him around the canvas, while he holds and uses a painting tool.


Art historian Vladimir Bjeličić writes: “Ilić’s new project represents a logical extension of his work from the past. The artist obtained a large industrial robot (with articulated moving joints) used in factory production as an entirely new means of working implement. However, the circumstances are different now, in the sense that Ilić is no longer the one who is controlling or manipulating the machine (as was the case in his previous projects), rather it is his very own body that he now places at the disposal of a programmed machine, practically merging with it. The performative act of drawing or painting ceases to be an exclusively human activity and this simulation on the whole suggests to us both the repetitiveness involved in technological production, as well as representing a new stage of ritual or transgressive experiences of the author himself.”

Dragan Ilić was born in Belgrade (1948), but considers himself as a Serbian – Australian – American artist, living and working in New York and Belgrade. He attended the ANU (Australian National University) School of Art Canberra and obtained a BFA in 1974–75. He continued his studies at the Dov S-S Simens’ Film Program, Millenium Film Lab, New York (1986).

His works have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions from 1972 onward in Europe (Belgrade, Cologne, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris), Japan (Tokyo), the USA (New York – Brooklyn, Ground Zero, Manhattan; Chicago), and Australia (Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra). Some of his most noticeable performances are: The People I Don’t Like, RoboAction, Electronic Pencils, Untitled, Thunder HB2, Elemental Voltage, etc. He is also the author of a number of video and film presentations, a guest in television appearances, guest lecturer, and workshop mentor.


Project RISK CHANGE (2016–2020) is co-funded by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.
The project is also supported by the Municipality of Maribor and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.
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