In his first solo exhibition at Sommer Contemporary Art, Croatian artist David Maljković continues to explore the erosion of time and the corruption of information through a layering of formal investigations.
The exhibition follows a mirroring logic, in which manipulated images repeat in different constellations and media. On the two central polls of the gallery, two slide projectors rattle. The first is projecting In Low Resolution (2014) – a rotation of 40 slides, taken from the artist's personal archive and depicting his earlier works and installations. The images are manipulated, so that the quality of specific objects and areas are reduced to large indiscernible pixels.
One of the slides, showing a hand trying to catch a floating white pixelated object, is projected, still and isolated, on the second poll. Called Afterform (2013), this image is indeed chasing its various forms, as it is translated again in to wallpapers. These function as backgrounds for two large collages, made of photographs documenting various creative stages of Maljković’s works, laid on top of one another. Their title - New Reproduction (2013), enfolds a temporal paradox. Through digital editing, decollaging, covering and hiding, the artist reactivates his previous works in a kind of a timeline gone-bad. These scrambled hyper-images are framed by KODAK professional quality-control printing scales, as if they were printing tests. Two other wallpapers are in fact over-sized installation shots of Maljković’s 2014 show at the Palais de Tokyo, called 'In Low Resolution'. Rather than transforming the gallery space, they function as ghosts from a former installation.
In a complex play of dislocation and reversed time, Maljković now uses the wallpaper's two-dimensional image of a white empty screen as a projection space for a new version of his famous video work, Out of Projection (2009-2014). Filmed at the test track of Peugeot headquarters in the French city of Sochaux, it shows elderly people walking around the track, along side futurist cars models designed in the 1980-2000s. The image is blurred and the movement is slowed down to suggest a dream-like aesthetic or surveillance footage. The people are actual retired Peugeot workers, some visiting the carefully guarded track for the first time. Their bodies act as a temporal division, while the car models, which now seem as if they were taken from an old sci-fi film, are stranded in a limbo of outdated futures. On a different wall, covered by the same wallpaper, a still from the original film is shown. Here, Maljković stopped the printing of the image before the heads of the figures were injected onto the paper, thus creating headless specters.
Maljković’s work deals with formalist concerns through highly controlled variants. While narrative is the driving element of his projects, the artist’s varied means of visual implementation challenge the supremacy of the story. Construction within a set of formal directives encrypts the narrative and postulates what Maljković describes "a new semantic logic". In aesthetic terms, his practice can be described as existing between form and content, or signifier and signified - in linguistic terms. It is within these dynamics that Maljković negotiates his formal methods and disjunctive intentions.
David Maljković (b. 1973, Rijeka) lives and works in Zagreb. He completed studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Zagreb and the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam. He exhibited solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions at the 56th Venice Biennale, Venice (2015), Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2014), MAXXI, Rome (2013), Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2012), Sculpture Center, New York (2012), Wiener Secession, Vienna (2011) and Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana (2010), among rest. He is a recipient of the International Contemporary Art Prize Diputacio de Castello, Spain.
Inkjet prints collaged and mounted on alubond, 150 x 100 cm, 2013, Courtesy of the artist, Sprüth Magers and Metro Pictures, New York
Afterform, Slide projection, 2013, Courtesy of the artist, Sprüth Magers and Metro Pictures, New York