kc grad mural livil

                           Photo credits: Andreas Nader

A number of new murals have sprang up in Belgrade’s creative district of Savamala. Regrettably, some of them seem to have already disappeared from the facades of Savamala due to the  ongoing construction of Belgrade Waterfront. However, an interesting mural appeared in the garden of KC Grad in Brace Krsmanovica Street and it is the work of art by an artist Olivier Holzl.

Could you please introduce yourself and explain to us when you became a street artist?           

Hello my name is Olivier Hölzl.  My pseudonym is LIVIL. My mother is French and my father is Austrian. Originally I used to paint only but I moved on to stencil art as it tends to be more flexible and it gives me the opportunity to work internationally. I do not consider myself a street artist. Of course I paint in the streets but this term is somewhat „old fashioned“ in 2015. I act as a hybrid between art in public areas and the gallery…It was never my intention to be this kind of „hybrid“. We live in 2015. Today the „art scene“, the gallery owner, the collector and significant others  who  are passionately into art come to the gallery, the museum, the art fair. Through that I am exposed to an art market and I can survive, pay my bills…but it gets boring to a certain point; so I found it exciting to look for public spaces. My art is exposed to people that would never visit a gallery…that’s what, I think, art should be. And the third area I expose my art in is the social media. I would not say that I took to the idea of social media; it is rather distracting for everybody, people don’t seem to be able to focus on anything anymore; as an artist it is great! Within minutes hundreds of people get to see what you have done…and I also like to watch my art becoming a „picture“.

Where did you paint in Belgrade? Have you been granted  a permission?

At Savamala.The arty area of Belgrade. I also painted at the KC Grad. The KC Grad provided me with the permission. For the other art work I simply picked a house which seems to be derelict. Some Belgradians joined us and we talked to the people there. Just look at SAVAMALA! It’s abundant in works of art.  I am not a tagger that can nip and dash hurriedly from one corner to another… I just make sure not to vandalize anything.

street art in belgrade

                          Photo credits: Andreas Nader

Tell us more about your art work in Belgrade?

Actually I was invited to come to Belgrade by the Centre for Graphic Arts and Visual Research “Akademija“ to participate in a printing workshop and an exhibition. I created some screen prints that in a way refer to the Serbian history. I took „logos“ like from the NATO ,  Partizan Belgrade, some political parties and lots more and transformed them into my idiosyncratic style. When I work I like to refer to what is happening around me. The pieces I made at KC Grad and in the streets (also did one at the Chillton hostel) deal with topics of the individual in a group.

Olivier Hölzl’s s work is characterized by the combination of image and text, the imminent, associative richness which the artist exploits in full

The centrepiece  of LIVIL’s work is  often group photos capturing  individuals in a family, in a company or other such social setting.

LIVIL’s work seem to be bringing to light the ambivalence inherent in all social groups. On  one hand, the keenness of an individual to be part of a community; on the other hand, knowing that being part of a community tends to shape and form our personal behavior in the long run. Communities forge identities; therefore we must be made y aware of the mechanisms by which this happens.

How would you describe Belgrade? 

I really enjoyed the city of Belgrade. Belgrade is a city that is very much alive! As an artist that is extremely important as it gives you loads of inspiration. Of course, coming from Vienna (which is ‘neat and tidy’ and ‘clean-cut’) the change first was quite overwhelming. It’s a city that is in a transformation process with all the problems attached. The people here tend to be very friendly. At the same time it was not easy to connect with them. In Vienna there are a lot of Serbians. The relations between Austrians and Serbians have not  always been an easy ride. In the art scene of Vienna I have a lot of Serbian and international friends. At the end of my trip I was sad to leave as I started to get more and more into the city of Belgrade. The people of Akademija were great and we were really well looked after! And we ate a lot of meat!!! I would definitely love to come back.

kc grad mural livil

                           Photo credits: Andreas Nader

What do you think about Savamala’s street art?

Savamala is in huge danger! That’s what I realized while talking to the people. It’s a great arty area in its most original way. It’s an area which seems to prove what art should be all about. If Belgrade loses this area it would be a shame for the city. I love Savamala as a whole…it’s a brilliant part in Belgrade…

Do you use any artistic pen name ?


Are you a part of some street art collective?


What do you usually paint?

I like to paint groups of people. I like to paint buildings, but I also do abstract stuff. For everything I paint I have an idea, a concept behind.