David Maljković
In his installations, videos, and collages, David Maljković (b. 1973) not only deals with aspects of his native Croatia’s eventful history and the economic and cultural consequences of its transformation from communist to capitalist form of society, but he also consistently reflects on the history of his own work.

With Maljković, the individual work is almost never completed. With each new showing, older works, even entire exhibition presentations, are recycled in various ways as raw material, allowing for a repeated reexamination of form and content. The staging, the use of pedestals, or visible exhibition architecture, often serves as a deliberate means of visual disturbance and is an integral part of the work. For example, installation views of his exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in 2014 were made into a black and white photo wallpaper, which, in turn, provided the backdrop for his exhibition at Metro Pictures in New York the following year. In the photos, two freestanding white projection screens can be seen in the space; a newly edited version of the HD video Out of Projection (2009-14) is shown on one screen, while the slide projection In Low Resolution (2014) is presented on the other. The video shows former employees of a Peugeot factory on a company test track in France. Filmed in black and white, the figures move about slowly, seemingly out of time, around futuristic-looking Peugeot prototypes that were never mass-produced. These prototypes from the past formed, in turn, part of the architectural background for the modernist movement in Croatia, which Maljković addressed in his earlier work Lost Review (2008). Here, in a collage series of the same name, still images from the video reappear mounted on aluminum with individual sections cut out with a knife. The slide projection showed images from Maljković’s archive, which, however, were partially obliterated through pixilation as if in a form of self-censorship.

The first extensive exhibition of his work in Croatia was held in 2015 in four different locations in Zagreb under the title Retrospective by Appointment: at Nova Gallery, the Croatian Designers Association (HDD), the artist’s studio, and Cinema Tuskanac, the Croatian film federation. In the four various locations, Maljković’s previous work—from earliest student sketches to major works—was exhibited together in a non-hierarchical and non-chronological fashion, or literally placed on top or in front of one other, thus activating his main themes and working methods: individual and collective relationships and the complexity of time, the principle of collage, self-reference and references to the work of other artists, and the use of earlier works and exhibition displays as material. The carefully choreographed exhibition experience challenged visitors visually and questioned the importance of autonomy in art.

Text: Eva Scharrer