11th Gwangju Biennale
2. 9. – 6. 11. 2016



David Maljkovic

Elderly couples are walking around car prototypes, which look at once ostentatiously futuristic and hopelessly outdated. They are at the testing track for Peugeot cars in an anonymous, top-secret industrial complex in the woods of Sochaux, France. The aged characters are retired Peugeot workers, who never had the chance to access this highly secured site during their employment, but who could do so through David Maljkovic’s (b. 1973, Zagreb) project Out of Projection (2009–14).

The landscape in the video recalls settings in science-fiction films. However, Maljkovic is less interested in envisioning the future, and more in the question of why we envision it. Why do we feel the need to visualize the forms that are yet to come? Are we really able to project a future and then make it real?

For GB11, he is showing an expanded installation based on this video, including a new iteration of In Low Resolution (2014) presenting the shell-like mold of a Peugeot Moovie concept car, produced in 2004. Confronting the visitors with an archeology of speculative forms, the artist investigates our peculiar relationship with the uncertain forms of the future, and the way memories could function as futuristic propositions. In addition, the installation holds a slide presentation of images from the artist’s archive and print works showing images with some areas reduced to blocks of oversize pixels—reminiscent of censored television. In this way, he draws our attention to the ways in which meanings and memories are eroded and senses are destabilized through the effects of time and technology.

In his works, Maljkovic demonstrates a high degree of formalist imagination. Whatever the narrative or subject matter that prompts a project, the result does not just describe this narration, but rather opens up new understandings about signification processes. This investigation is the key preoccupation in his artistic process examined through different tactics of dislocation, subtraction, and juxtaposition of images. Through constantly reusing and redesigning previous works to emphasize the alternative perceptions that could unfold from them, the process is close to the way memory itself functions. AM


June 24, 2009
Here we are, travelling from Stockholm to Paris. After the flight, I’ll take the train for Montbeliard, near Sochaux.

Finally, it is time to shoot; some things really take time, as it seems. I am really excited about the shooting, and about working with ex-employees of Peugeot, with whom I will create a landscape with concept cars, models meant for the time to come, for the future. I am not certain any more that it is a work about the future, or even about envisioning it. It might be, rather, about why we envision it and why we visualize it, i.e. why we need to imagine coming forms. Maybe this shooting is about consciousness-raising, about where we are and why we do not envision a mental dimension of the future – a state of mind. One could say I am going to shoot the bodywork of the future. I will see what the series of situations and circumstances will bring. Sometimes I feel, thinking about the human race, that all of us should take a drug that would make us to step forward.

It seems that the more we visually envision the future, the less we have left for tomorrow. Our perception is changing, a naive picture becomes apocalyptic, and then it returns to optimism again, etc., depending on the moment or the state of our collective fears. For instance, for quite some time now, my work has been modulated by recent processes in history, effecting the space given to me by destiny. Those were similar steps forward, maybe more like walking on the Moon. I was sliding on the sensitive surface of the past that time had more recently swept away—or, to say it differently: time had bitten into that past, or even replaced it.

Stepping backward is very similar to stepping forward, but we suffer from the illusion that steps backward are more known to us; it is easier to visualize them, so we can choose which way of visualization is more to our taste, and we will gladly apply various visual principles. We see both steps forward and steps backward in a “vacuum,” although somebody else has already imagined these images for us. We can say that we are moving in a tightly controlled system of images, and very often we are left with only our own affinities. Let us say that in this vortex of the seen, we are trying to concentrate on breathing. We like to produce images, static or moving, and in time, one of them will become more important than the other; consensus will decide which child will be adopted.

It will be put on a shelf, and in the course of time, the child will seek an heir, and this is okay. It seems to me that on this journey, i.e. the shooting, what is important is not what I shoot but the states of mind that I produce.

* from journal entry written between 2007 and 2009 for the project Out of projection.