Maja Maljević first began collaborating with David Krut Workshop (DKW) in 2007, when she she began experimenting with printmaking as a way to expand her painting practice. Since then, she has created several bodies of work with Master Printer Jillian Ross and the team at DKW.
Maljević has had eight solo exhibitions with David Krut Projects, all of which have presented both prints made in collaboration with DKW and paintings in oil and acrylic.
Into the Spine (2009), DKP Johannesburg
Bubble and Leak (2011), DKP Johannesburg
Revisited (2012), NIROX project space, Arts on Main, managed by DKP
Ex Nihilo (2012), DKP Cape Town
Horror Vacui (2014), DKP Johannesburg
Disrupted (2016), DKP Johannesburg.
This exhibition marked the first example of a body of work focused on a single motif: the abstraction of the iconic imagery of Diego Velazquez.
Polytekton (2018), DKP Johannesburg
For this exhibition, Maljevićs explored a different process of collaboration with the team at DKW, and also marked the first time the artist’s ceramic work was presented. The central part of Polytekton, a series of prints called Document for the People, was later put on display at Arts on Main. This work was created by a multiplicity of processes in making numerous sheets and cutouts in various colours, resulting in two-dimensional paper constructions. Polytekton was very well-received, reviewed as a Critic’s Pick by Sean O’Toole for ArtForum.
Silence of the Change (2019), DKP New York
After the success of the previous collaboration and exhibition, Maljević continued work with DKW in preparation for her first exhibition at DKP New York, titled The Silence of the Change. The exhibition’s central series of unique works on paper titled Winter Files marks a breakthrough in terms of the artist redefining her own relationship to the process of printmaking, a result of the sustained relationship between the artist and print workshop over 12 years.
Maljević has also been part of many group exhibitions at DKP over the years and has conducted numerous workshops with children based on her specific style of work.
Maja Maljević was born in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1973. Having completed her schooling, she spent seven years obtaining her Masters in Fine Arts at the University of Belgrade, graduating in 1999. In 2000 she moved to South Africa, in order to escape the political turmoil in her own country. She has been living and working in Johannesburg since then.
Maljević’s particular style begins with “dirtying” the canvas with a layer of bright paint that breaks the baldness of the white surface and opens up the space for Maljević’s intuitive jigsaw endeavour. Onto this ground, Maljević builds up surfaces with drips, blocks, bands and waves of colour, searching for harmony between colour and form, line and shape, expansive surface and small detail. For Maljević, physical movement is an important part of the process – never can she be found sitting at an easel. Through her own version of gestural abstraction, Maljević prevents the composition from becoming staid and self-indulgent, as she has put it, and allows action and conflict to occur between the different elements with which she is engaged. Reworking the formal mechanisms of Modernism to suit her contemporary needs – as a painter, a printmaker and also most recently as a sculptor – Maljević’s primary objective is coherence between all the individual elements within a composition, whether they are in conflict or co-existing harmoniously, and therefore its integral logic.