Previous Exhibition

18/02/2023 - 20/08/2023

In the Pictorial Code

David Maljković


Quetzal Art Center proudly presents a solo exhibition by David Maljković titled In the Pictorial Code.

At the core of Maljković’s practice is a regimented exploration of formalist concerns. Whilst narrative is the driving element at the origin of a project, the artist’s varied means of visual implementation consistently and profoundly modifies and compromises its supremacy, whether that is through photography, video, sculpture, installation, collage or painting. The process of construction within a set of formal directives encrypts his narratives and postulates what he describes as a new semantic logic. Virtually all of Maljkovic’s work is engaged with historical and technological markers that are characterized by situations both local and universal. In each, the erosion and corruption of memory are the subjects that are left to the viewer.

In the Pictorial Code presents recent works that play with the idea of painting as a guardian of time and the painter’s position as its witness. The exhibition establishes a marking system that embodies the image’s position within the author’s practice, and also tracks its displacement into other media. In recent works, this mediating role of different media is in the background, while the return to the language of painting assumes the right of precedence. This immersion in the painting process and the painting language itself is realized through the processes of expanding, narrowing and overlapping the syntax of the painting and its protagonists. The very effects of that language are separated from the motive, and on the other hand, they are looking for its rightful place. Motifs become characters, and their roles change in the construction of painting itself.

At first glance, the selections of motifs act as metaphorical platforms on which (or around which) they are objectified and become painting understood in a broader sense. Namely, these motifs take on their secondary being and become signs whose content, as well as their mutual relations, are positioned and moderated precisely by the painting process. In that pictorial landscape, the exhibition opens panoramically to allow our eye to meander between objects and paintings. The materiality of the pictorial code itself is not contained exclusively in the painting; it can be found across the artist’s practice. From painting to painting, from painting to object, the eponymous code behaves differently. However, pictoriality is constant and the key to their reading.


To raise your curiosity we would like to share David Malkjovic’s video, that takes you on a fictional journey through the exhibition, exploring his new body of work.

David Maljković was born in Rijeka, Croatia. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Zagreb and the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, and is currently based in Zagreb. Among Maljković’s selected solo exhibitions are: The Renaissance Society, Chicago; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Kunstmuseum Sankt Gallen; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead; GAMeC, Bergamo; CAC Vilnius; Sculpture Center, New York; Kunsthalle Basel; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Secession, Vienna; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; Whitechapel, London; CAPC Musee d’art Contemporain, Bordeaux; and MOMA PS1. His work has been exhibited in museums such as Kunsthaus Bregenz; MAXXI Rome; MUSAC Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y Léon, Spain; The Power Plant, Toronto; Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels; and Centre Pompidou, Paris. He has participated in numerous large-scale group shows, including the 11th Gwangju Biennale; 56th Biennale di Venezia; La Triennale, Paris; the 29th Sao Paulo Biennial; 11th and 9th Istanbul Biennial; the 4th Tirana Biennial; and the 5th Berlin Biennale, among others. His works are part of major public collections, such as Centre Pompidou, Paris; MUMOK, Vienna; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; MOMA, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the Tate Collection, London.


With thanks to Annet Gelink – Rialto6, Lisbon – Sprüth Magers – T293, Rome

More information: read the handout or read the publication In the studio with David Maljkovic in émergent magazine.