David Maljkovic’s exhibition “Alterity Line” at Metro Pictures includes a series of paintings and expands upon his practice of reconfiguring and re-presenting his earlier works into site-specific installations. The intricate transformation of works from various stages of his practice into new ones functions to obfuscate hierarchies between media and artworks, considering the relationship between art’s autonomy and its formal developments, the nature of the gaze and the complexities of time.
Fifteen new monochromatic paintings mounted on aluminum hang throughout the gallery, each laser-etched with small drawings, many that Maljkovic found in his old sketchbooks. Referring to the production of these works, he exhibits inside vitrines three utilitarian grates that the mounted canvases were placed on during the laser-etching process. In another series, Maljkovic, who began his career studying painting in Zagreb, presents his old paintings rolled and encased in plexiglas boxes that lay across trestles or lean against the wall. A further reflection on his painting background can be seen in two large wallpaper works that incorporate documentary images from Frustrated painter or something about painting, a performance he staged in 2003 while studying at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Maljkovic adds pigment to the paste used to adhere the wallpaper to the wall, brushing the paste over and under the wallpaper to add a painterly effect.
“Alterity Line” presents the evolution and transience of elements of Maljkovic’s work, underscoring key concerns like the construction of time and strategies such as the exhibition of display structures. The carefully composed scenography of the exhibition includes a tall, oversized pedestal in the front gallery with the videos Afterform, Undated and a single-channel version of Out of Projection projected high on the wall. All three of these works were previously shown as parts of larger installations at Metro Pictures. In the back gallery, another imposing pedestal stands stretching toward the skylight with “Moovie” Concept-Car (Peugeot), a sculpture previously exhibited at Palais de Tokyo made from a resin mold of the windshield of a futuristic-looking Peugeot prototype. Shown on the pedestal alongside this work is a selection of drawings and collages made throughout the artist’s career that have been stacked and leaned against the wall high above viewers, making them out of reach and partially out of sight.
A survey of Maljkovic’s work, “A Retrospective by Appointment,” was organized in 2015 in collaboration with the curatorial collective What, How & for Whom/WHW in his home city of Zagreb. Taking place across various non-institutional venues in the city, including his own studio, the show focused on the institutional framework of Zagreb while simultaneously reimagining the conventions of the retrospective. This highly reflective approach to the context and means by which his work is presented has been a primary component of Maljkovic’s practice since his 2011 exhibition at Secession in Vienna, where he presented vitrines and other display structures previously used to exhibit his work.
A version of “A Retrospective by Appointment” titled “Again and Again” was exhibited in 2016 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova in Ljubljana (catalogue Mousse Publishing). In 2012-13 another major survey exhibition, “Sources in the Air,” was exhibited at the Van Abbemusem, Eindhoven, Netherlands; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK; and GAMeC, Bergamo, Italy. In each iteration, Maljkovic drastically reshaped the presentation, redefining the terms of the traveling exhibition (catalogue JRP|Ringier). Additional one-person shows include Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland; CAC Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius, Lithuania; Kunstverein Hamburg; and Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid. Two-person shows include SculptureCenter, New York (with Lucy Skaer) and Kunsthalle Basel (with Latifa Echakhch). His work was included in the 2016 Gwangju Biennale, 2015 Venice Biennale and 2010 Bienal de São Paulo.
Metro Pictures (press release)