Continuing his interest in reconfigured and re-appropriated sculpture and painting that runs throughout the length of his career, Croatian-born artist David Maljkovic has returned to his New York exhibition space, Metro Pictures, for a show of new works. The exhibition, titled Alterity Line, is a fitting summary of much of his earlier work, transforming pieces from various stages of his practice into new ones to obfuscate hierarchies between media and artworks, and considering the relationship between art’s autonomy and its formal developments.
Maljkovic’s work is a fascinatingly obtuse exercise in object creation. Often revisiting sculptural work from past years, or exploring its presence (or absence) in various contexts and spaces, his pieces delve into the act of being present, of sitting in the gallery or remaining outside of it. Here, the artist has selected a range of works, including a series of early paintings, then encased them in thick plexiglass, a move that turns them away from distinct exercises in gesture, and into more wholistic forms. The viewer’s eye is turned from the painted strokes and towards the object more broadly, presenting it as an operator in space that emphasize Maljkovic’s intriguing perspective on the art object.
Elsewhere, the artist has taken elements from previous shows and presented them again here as a series of new arrangements, deconstructing the original meanings of the pieces in favor of a new site, one where the logic and information presented has taken on new tones and implications. This technique sits at the core of so much of the artist’s work, an interest in the shifting possibilities for seeing and understanding from space to space, room to room, that even the objects themselves become somewhat interchangeable in favor of the overall arrangement and interrelation of pieces.
These two frameworks are united in his wallpaper pieces hung near the back of the gallery. Hanging a series of documentary images from Frustrated painter or something about painting, a performance he staged in 2003 while studying at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, the artist has added 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. The end result is a compositional structure that suspends his previous images, and even his previous techniques in a new system, literally washed over with new angles and movements.
For Maljkovic, the past is an open archive, one which he frequently dives back into to retrieve fragments and images, memories and moments, to create space anew. His work is on view through February 24th.
— D. Creahan
Metro Pictures Gallery [Metro Pictures]