About Maja Maljević
Maja Maljević (b. 1973 – Belgrade, Serbia, 1973) graduated from the School for Design in Belgrade in 1992 and received her BA in Fine Art (1997) and her MA in Fine Art (2000) from the University of Arts, Belgrade. In 2000, she moved to South Africa where she now lives and works as a full-time artist in Johannesburg.
Maljević makes use of bright colours, big strokes and thick layers of paint in her work. She cites Michelangelo as an important inspiration, though her jagged style has much more in common with the New York painter Basquiat. However, it is rock music that truly inspires her. As a child of the nineties, she was influenced by grunge, where followers searched for despair in an era that pretended to shine with optimism. Her bright colours mix and resonate like distorted chords, and the melancholia is reflected in her characters.
She has had successful solo exhibitions in South Africa and completed an important commission for the Raphael Hotel on Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton. She participated in a workshop at David Krut Print Workshop in 2007, and since then she has created several bodies of work with the DKW printmakers. In 2009 she had a solo exhibition at David Krut, Johannesburg, called Into the Spine. She has since gone on to have four additional solo exhibitions with David Krut between 2011 and 2019. In 2015 she began working with Kalashnikovv Gallery who have represented her oil paintings in numerous art fairs around the world and extensively in Berlin, Germany through Kalashnikovv Berlin.
Maljević writes, “I enjoy a visual ensemble that includes the figurative and the abstract, the organic and geometric, the obvious and the elusive. Put them all together and you get an eclectic remix where any one thing can be something else. A portrait can rise out of a still life, a still life can descend into a landscape, a finger is a toe and two legs, slightly parted, might be a whisper. To capture and describe my creative process is like putting music into words – something essential gets lost in translation. How can you record the emotional volume present in the art of listening?”
Maja Maljević has been widely collected by important collections in South Africa, France and the USA. Her work is owned and displayed by many prominent corporate collections which include amongst others: The Spier Arts Collections, Hollard, and Nandos Art Collection.