The Imitation of Life Studio
Studio Imitacija Zivota


The Imitation of Life Studio (IOLS) is a collaborative project founded in 1987 by Darko Fritz and Zeljko Serdarevic, and realized over a three-year period, namely from 1988 up to 1990. Realm of activities encompassed visual art, graphic design and audio-visual performances. Over the period of three years the project was designed and performed in the form of three blocks of public appearances in Zagreb. Those were: 
- Saltomortale 1988, 
- Protupomak (translated as Contrarymotion) 1989 [see poster] and 
- Interpunkt 1990. [see poster]
Each annual programme included three music and stage events and three art projects [exhibition of mixed media objects . site-specific works at public space . exhibition of graphic design].
The IOLS published four publications / catalogues 1997 - 1990.

The music and stage events consisted of programes of film and hand-animated slide shows, to which was performed original music (live piano together with taped sounds of electronic instruments). In 1988 public performance block the music and stage events took place in a Cinema, Theatre and Gallery, establishing a relationship with the concepts of film, theatre, concert and performance. Stage events of The Imitation of Life Studio did not fully corresponded to any of these concepts.
Each event was unique in as much as it took place in different environments, whose ambiance was specially set-up for the performance. The events of approximately forty minutes duration were loosely divided into seven parts, interchangeable with each new performance.
The introduction performed during 1988, was a remix of Somewhere Over the Rainbow played backwards. The visualization consisted of the text of the song written on a ten meters roll of graphic film which was simultaneously projected on three slide projectors. Parts of the text were originally projected on three walls and than superimposed on the central wall. There was a gap between the projecting and transparent screen, offering a different viewpoint dependent on visitor position in the audience.

During the performance by the IOLS, a photographic image was positioned on the central wall over a projection of the same image, on 1:1 scale, both images coinciding completely. Three days later Fotografije-izumi, a mixed media exhibition was opened by The Imitation of Life Studio at the Flash photo studio, were the same photograph was positioned on the film screen. [Studio]. This piece forms a cycle of art-works together with two other pieces designed during the following two mixed-media exhibitions of The IOLS.
The next piece is entitled The Kindness of a Stranger. This is an object comprising of circular saw mounted on a blackboard painted with oil paint. It was first shown in 1989 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the second mixed-media exhibition Ekranizacija (Adapted for Screen).
The third piece in this cycle is Technobox. It was presented at the thirth annual mixed-media exhibition entitled Frame by Frame, Image par Image, 1990, taking place in anonymous basement next to body-building club. 

The next cycle of works designed throughout  all three mixed-media exhibitions starts with the triptych with two titles:
No Airports Around Here and the dialogue:
A: “It‘s...“
B: ”What about...?”
A+B:“I did a lot of thinking and...”

The panels include eight watch ads and a real time working clock. On its first showing, at the first mixed-media exhibition 1988, this work was displayed together with a copy machine.
The second piece also has two titles: Mona Lisa and Sans titre. Later, this work was reproduced at the ofsset poster advertising Slovene National Theatre Maribor. The final piece in this cycle is entitled Ressantiment.

There were three openings in the Nova Gallery for the 1st Annual Design Exhibition in 1988, during which time the works could be viewed. Throughout the first opening, a live radio programme produced by The Imitation of Life Studio was broadcast in the gallery. For this programme, the radio presenter read a prepared text, as if he was present in the gallery. At the second opening, computer print-outs of an interview  between a writer Djurdja Otrzan and Darko Firtz were displayed in the gallery. At the thirth opening Tihomir Milovac, the curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art gave a speech.

The 2nd Annual Design Exhibition in 1989 was the opening show  for the new gallery of the Croatian Arts and Crafts Association which was not yet completed. The 3th Annual Design Exhibition, 1990, took place in the Izidor Krsnjavi Gallery. The opening of this exhibition coincided with the openings of the 1990 public installation “Recreation“ and the mixed-media exhibition in two other spaces.

The first public installation of 1988 entitled U visini ociju (At the eye level) functioned as a kind of manifesto for the on-going three year project. The key presentation object was a record player with the blade of a circular saw placed on the turntable alongwith marzipan roses. This artifact functioned as a kind of trademark, and appeared at every manifestation by The Imitation of Life Studio‘s project over the three year period.

In 1989 the urban action Lontano dagli occhi, lontano dal cuore took place around Zagreb. It consisted of nine installations placed in shopwindows at points which shaped a tro-square on the city map. This geometric form was named and also adopted as a trademark by  The Imitation of Life Studio. The exhibition Adapted for Screen displayed the photographic records of this action. Each photograph of the nine installation pieces was taken on a 1:1 scale and assumed the role of 'original' when the action was completed. In 1990, the third public installation Re-creation was mounted in the main square in Zagreb, and reproduced  photographically on a 1:3 scale.

> see the TV virus Anechoic Chamber.

web site The Imitation of Life Studio - Studio Imitacija Zivota (2014)


> see graphic design works by the IOLS [noted with * ] > graphic design