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Designers & Creators Directory

Slavko Tihec

(SLAHV-koh TEE-hets)

Birthplace: Maribor, Slovenia

Heritage: Slovene

Date born: July 10th, 1928

Date deceased: February 11th, 1993

Education: Academy of Fine Arts, Ljubljana (graduated 1955)


Born into a family of railway workers in 1920s Maribor, Slavko Tihec worked his way up throughout his career to become one of the most renowned 20th century sculptors of Slovenia. He lost his father at a young age, so was raised by his mother, who encouraged his art. His first ventures into sculpture were in school, where he was active in the sculpture club. When World War II began, he was only 13, so he did not fight, however, him and his family were harassed by German soldiers, with certain family members even being arrested. After the war, he continued pursuing a career in art, but he was delayed as he was required by the state of Yugoslavia to attended mandatory reserve soldier training for several years. After completing this service, he began his studies in sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, where he worked with famed sculpting professors Karl Putrih , Zdenko Kalin and Boris Kalin. Tihec graduated in 1955 and relocated back to Maribor. There he entrenched himself within the artistic community, working tirelessly on promoting his work and career. In the late 1950s, heTihec was awarded a scholarship to study in Paris in order to accrue specialized training, where he worked with graphic designer Johnny Friedlaender. During his time in Paris, Tihec began to explore new avenues of contemporary art while moving away from the more traditional figurative sculptural styles in which he was trained in his early schooling. These ideas of breaking with 'ideological imperatives' of traditional art were amplified during his time working in the BE 54 artistic community in Slovenia.

Major changes began to happen to Tihec towards the end of the 1950s. Firstly, he married fellow sculptor Vlasta Zorko in 1958, having a baby Thomas soon thereafter. Secondly, also in the late 1950s Tihec began to make his very first abstract sculptures. Two of Tihec's earliest works of abstract public sculpture was the Monument to the Pohorje Battalion and a work named "Semaphore", which he created in Ravne na Koroškem by the invitation of the town's 'Viva Forma' public art program, brought him great critical acclaim. As his change in artistic style began to bring him accolades, commissions, and awards, Tihec was subsequently granted a professorship at Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts in 1968. Tihec's grandest commission came in the early 1970s, when he was asked to design a memorial to the World War II fighters and victims from Maribor. This memorial sculpture at Maribor would be his most memorable work and secure his lifetime reputation as a sculptor. Over his life, he would put on hundreds of exhibitions, creating well over 1000 sketches, paintings and sculptures. In 1983 Tihec was awarded with Slovenia's highest cultural honor: the Prešeren Award for a lifetime of contribution and achievement in art. This was also the same year Tihec and his wife Vlasta divorced. A protracted illness then debilitated Tihec, leaving him unable to create art any longer. After a long battle with that illness, he died in Feburary of 1993 in Ljubljana at the age of 70.

In 2016, the Maribor Art Gallery held a large retrospective exhibit regarding Slavko Tihec's work, which many felt was particularly important as the legacy and career of their hometown artist had seemed to have been largely forgotten by many of the city's residents since his death.

Works by this Designer:

This is a listing of a number of memorials, monuments, cultural centers and other notable Yugoslav-era civic works by Slavko Tihec. Those sites listed in the upper part of this section have profile pages, while those listed in the lower part do not yet have completed profile pages. This list is not exhaustive and will be added to over time.

Yugoslav Works with profile pages:

Click photos to go to page

Maribor, SLO

Name: Maribor Liberation Monument

Year: completed 1975

Maribor, SLO


Name: Rolled Up Ball

Year: completed 1973

Ljubljana, SLO


Name: Genesis of the Core (aka: 'Lollipop')

Year: completed 1972

Maribor, SLO

Monument to Fallen Railway Workers in Ma

Name: Monument to Maribor Railway Workers

Year: completed 1962

Ljubljana, SLO


Name: Monument to Ivan Cankar

Year: completed 1982

Yugoslav Works without profile pages:

Osankarnica, SLO


Name: Monument to the Pohorje Battalion

Year: completed 1959, with Branko Kocmut

Location: N46°27'34.7", E15°24'59.9"

Ljubljana, SLO


Name: Big Stratified Shape

Year: completed 1986

Location: N46°04'58.8", E14°30'50.2"

Bohinjska Bistrica, SLO


Name: Monument to Bohinj Worker's Union

Year: completed 1976

Location: N46°16'20.4", E13°57'21.6"

Ravne na Koroškem, SLO


Name: Semaphore [more info]

Year: completed 1964

Location: N46°32'20.7", E14°57'49.8"

Unrealized Memorial Projects:

This section contains a listing of design proposals for various memorial projects that were submitted to competitions for consideration, but were ultimately NOT the final proposals chosen by the selection juries for the memorial projects they were submitted for. Below each photo is detailed the monument project it was submitted for, as well as the year it was submitted in.

Kozara, BiH

Name: concept for Mon. to the Revolution

Year: proposed 1970 [second prize]

Kozara concept7.jpg
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