David Maljković’s hints of design, production and color at Renaissance Society show

David Maljković’s show, “Also on View” installation view at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Useful Art Services)

Staff Writer

Croatian artist David Maljković’s new show at the Renaissance Society, “Also on View,” was conceived as a collection of the artist’s works on display, rather than a series of pieces arranged as a retrospective survey or as to convey a scene.

The show presents a series of photos; a conceptual, prototype part from Peugeot, the French automaker; videos projected onto the wall below eye level; other videos overlapping on each other, creating a composite piece; platforms with encased art on them; platforms with nothing on them; remnants from an industrial process that look like platforms — all with a recording of constantly chirping crickets as a background, a remnant from one of the artist’s past shows incorporated into this one.

“What he was interested in doing here was very deliberately bringing together works that he’s made at different times and works that kind of have their origins in different projects,” said curator Karsten Lund. “In some sense, to bring them all here together, you see new dimensions and new aspects of them.”

Maljković described the placement of the videos — not in a darkened room, with nowhere to sit in front and watch — as notes or gestures in “Also on View.”

“As viewers, we get to walk in here, and it’s kind of this puzzle that we get to untangle,” Lund said. “In some ways, this exhibition is a little provocative. It’s worth remembering that he’s interested in imagining all the different kinds of formats an exhibition can do to answer the question ‘what can an exhibition do.’”

Maljković is playing between conceptual and formal art. Visible right from the gallery entrance is a 10-foot photograph applied as wallpaper, over which the artist painted paste with a billboard brush then applied colored powder. While large pieces occupy the Renaissance Society’s vast gallery space, Maljković showed smaller works behind a wall that draw the viewer in close. Some pieces were made with a laser-etcher; other sculptures are the tables upon which things were etched, decorated with the residue of the production process.

“A show like this, I think it’s also interesting to open it up to the types of things that you might notice in individual works but also as you link one work to another — what are the kind of connections you see between them? And what are these different aspects you see?” Lund said. “There’s everything from these kinds of undercurrents, whether that’s thinking about industrial processes or some of the stuff that’s on the surface. It’s ready to meet you on all levels and see what rises up to you.”

The Renaissance Society is on the fourth floor of Cobb Hall, 5811 S. Ellis Ave., at the University of Chicago. “Also on View” is on through April 7.