Ki 298 Vilko Žiljak

plotter drawing The Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art Photo: © Charlott Markus

In the early 1970s, Vilko Žiljak (Croatia) lived in Zagreb. This city was the beating heart of computer art at the time. Ever since 1961, a movement called ‘New Tendencies’ which was aimed at visual research had been organising exhibitions and conferences here. This movement wanted to find new ways to make art accessible for everyone, both within and outside the world of art. In order to achieve this goal, ‘New Tendencies’ used new media and new forms of art.

The computer was embraced by ‘New Tendencies’ in the summer of 1968 as the new medium to create and distribute art. The theme for that year was: “Computer and Visual Research”. Over the next five years, the focus was completely on visual research using computers. The institution that supported ‘New Tendencies’ was the Gallery for Contemporary Art in Zagreb, which is now called the Museum for Contemporary Art. This is where Žiljak’s works Ki 233, Ki 236 and Ki 239 (1972) were created for the exhibition of ‘New Tendencies’ held in 1973.

Žiljak’s works of art were a great match for the theme of the exhibition and the events accompanying the exhibition. This Croatian artist had a background in computer graphics and computer typography. He programmed geographical maps at work. The images that he created for exhibition purposes were based on these kinds of programmes that he wrote for his employer in the early 1970s. According to this visual artist, his works of art are exclusively abstract. However, it is not impossible for the viewers to discover traces of geographic elements.

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