Being in the gallery space of Spruth Magers London is much like being on exhibition yourself; its floor-to-ceiling windows look onto the street, where passers by peer in at people viewing the art. Apt really for David Maljkovic’s exhibition, which takes as its formal springboard the process of framing and containing that film enacts on the people, places, and time it captures.
In the windowed room in question, Maljkovic has set up a whirring 16mm projector which throws out flickering white images alongside the soundtrack of a scene from Orson Welles’ The Trial (1962), the film at the heart of the deconstructive exhibition. The piece relies on the suggestive powers of cinema to conjure up a scene or at least a controlled atmosphere to its gallery audience.
Behind the screen, there’s a large print taken from Welles’ film of the protagonist standing in front of another screen, which itself projects back into the audience in what he calls an act of ‘reflexive projection’, a two-way exchange between the film and viewer.
The reason for using The Trial becomes clear in the second room where stills have been collaged with contemporary images of the same locations in Zagreb, creating images that shimmer between timeframes but somehow show how little these places have changed.
In a compact exhibition such as this, there’s more time to spend on each piece, but even for the film literate there’s still the need for contextualization, relating the works to the decline of the Croatian film industry and its relation to the country’s political conditions. Maljkovic is concerned with the form and modes of production of film, and how this can be explored in a gallery to bring about an exploration of his native country’s political and social situation.
-- Laura Bushell
All images courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers Berlin London
Images: David Maljkovic, Recalling Frames, 2010, C-Print from collage on negative, Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers Berlin London; David Maljkovic, Recalling Frames, 2010, C-Print from collage on negative, Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers Berlin London.