The early work of Mladen Stilinović was marked by his involvment in poetry and experimental film. His interest soon evolved in the relationship between visual symbols and words, leading to the creation of a series of collages, hundreds of artist's books, paintings, installations, and videos. Stilinovic's artwork is characterized by the use of everyday materials, simplicity, social criticism and questioning the role of art.
Between 1975 and 1981, Stilinovic was a member of Grupa šestorice autora (The Group of Six Authors), a group of conceptual artists who promoted the idea as the basis of a work of art. The Group primarily exhibited in public urban places, creating "exhibitions-actions", as Mladen Stilinović called them. His works are marked by simplicity and provocative slogans or texts. He often plays with verbal clichés, for example, in the piece Čuo sam da je umjetnost…(I heard that the Art…)
Since the seventies, Stilinovic has often used the color red to critisize and make irony of dominant political ideology. The artwork Pisano krvlju (Written in Blood) was created in 1976, where Stilinović wrote slogans in blood such as Nema umjetnosti bez krvi (There is no Art without Blood), Svaki posao je krvav (Every Work is Bloody) etc. The same year the artwork Izvađen iz gomile (Pulled out of a Crowd) was also created, in which the artist cut figures of people out of an aerial photograph of today's Square of Banus Jelačić.
In the period between 1984 and 1990, the well-known cycle Eksploatacija mrtvih (Exploitation of the Dead) was created, and later exhibited at major international exhibitions such as Documenta in Kassel in 2007. One of the issues that has occupied Stilinović from the beginning of his engagement in art, the issue of pain, culminated in the artwork Rječnik boli (The Dictionary of Pain), exhibited at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. The artist covered definitions of words from the dictionary with white-out and replaced them with the word "pain".
Mladen Stilinović was born in Zagreb in 1947. He was the director of Galerija proširenih medija (The Expanded Media Gallery) between 1981 and 1991, and was a cofounder of Galerija Podroom (The Basement Gallery), which operated from 1978 until 1980. He has exhibited in numerous solo and international exhibitions at home and abroad.