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SINIŠA MAJKUS MEGAMIX
14th of June - 20th of August 2016
The new exhibition project, a wired sculptural installation Megamix, code-named M22², has been placed in Lauba – People and Art House in Zagreb and represents one of the most characteristic and so far the most complex site-specific project by Siniša Majkus (1962) that was imagined as an ambient sculptural intervention in situ. Moreover, in the last two decades Majkus has made his mark in the Croatian art scene with spatial, “relational aesthetics” which also occurred in this picto-sculptural megastructure.
And although this statement may sound pretentious at first glance, in the postmodern art practice, the identity crisis of a modern sculpture that “spreads into areas of new and transparent materials, new media, moving images, state of matter, space” and aspires to dematerialize form, Majkus’ example of a reverse process of the objectification of graphic ideas, drawings or records in the solid material of steel wires restores faith in the sculptural form as a spatial fact affirming in the local context the concept of sculpture, a spatialized drawing as a structural element and specific spiral adornment in the formation of remarkable vistas of relational spatial-plastic architecture that transcends and expands our material and perceptive experience.
Although he is a graphic artist by education (graduated in 1989 in the class of Miroslav Šutej) and a typical representative of a new generation of artists that grew up in a pluralistic environment with individual and medium freedoms according to the aegis of cultural nomadism in the 1980s, Majkus’ first public appearances and vivid drawings of bizarre animal motifs or abstract biomorphic structures created from steel wire, cardboards and colourful faux letter patterns evoking pop-art legacy, (VN Gallery, 1990 and Gallery Forum’s Studio, 1991 in Zagreb) represented him turning his attention to a different approach and displaying his ingenious and creative character. He radically abandoned the graphic medium and started to sculpturally experiment with new materials, primary forms, and playful graphic structures of transparent volume. By rejecting rules, demolishing barriers of the medium and traditional division between art disciplines, and acquiring new skills, Majkus created a free space of creativity and expanded the field of action outside of the graphic medium into a three-dimensional field of sculpture, that is, of spatialized drawing.
During that successful operative path from the virtual (graphic) to the object world of material existence in which line become a solid substance of the “inner drawing,” he found a magical formula and paved the way for a different, plastic vision of the so-called “grapho-sculpture.” (Lj. Domić) He opted for a postmodern concept in which he combines graphic experience and skills of a sculptor into a metalinguistic structure of a stylized, mannerist poetic form of “disegno fantastic,” as it is characteristic for the spirit of the age and coded language of contemporary technological reality. In the space between mediums, he has built his own picto-sculptural world and distinctive style, skilfully balancing between spatial preoccupations of sculptural logic as artistic orientation and contemporary art phenomena of painting and op-art aesthetics as sensory experience, gaining the status of one of the key protagonist of the new Croatian sculpture in a broader, European context.
And indeed, unburdened by present happenings, frequent global or local shifts of artistic paradigms, his creativity has well-preserved the autonomy of his distinguishing style, inheriting from the beginning different experiences in which he combines the elements of constructivism, conceptual, optical or kinetic art, consistently nurturing the sensibility and poeticism of the material (wire) in discovering innovative, different solutions. In the formative years, his creativity enchanted with its inner energy and unfettered imagination zest in spatialized drawings or dense tangles of intense forms of abstract and biomorphic origins, which was later heeled with patience and discipline of a skilled builder in monumental sculptural forms of self-standing geometrical construction (Cristal Cathedrals cycle from 1997), with stylized linear projections preoccupied with iconography of uncommon objects, signs, and symbols typical for pop art vocabulary (chairs, torches, car wheels, star-shaped forms), or rather stimulated by mimetic matters and poetically pristine state in complex sculptural installations made from a number of identical elements of spatialized drawings of arabesque sophistication and elegance (Embrio, 2004), but in a formal and material sense, remained consistent in fundamental principles and processes of artistic creation: a spiral graphic form and fascination with the medium and plastic possibilities of the material (steel wires), and playful, lucid component as a driving force of his general artistic activity.
So it comes as no surprise that his creativity, after almost three decades long successful art career and continuous presence on the contemporary art scene, it did not miss its poetic expression and attractiveness of his exhibitions. Moreover, it preserved a creative innovation and monumentality of the form, as well as a type of the exclusivity of provocative spatial and technical solutions in the range from simple spatialized drawings and monumental sculptural construction to more complex spatial and sculptural installations.
However, unlike most of his early works in which he explored the mimetic form and „soft“ creations in wire of seemingly fragile biomorphic forms of transparent volumes, built into a fictive world of micro organic structure, in his new project, an art installation codenamed M22², which extends through the entire central part of the exhibition space as a suspended sculptural structure of colossal proportions, Majkus goes even further: he crosses the borders of form referentiality and shifts his art practice interests towards very chromatic sculptural quality and the architectural quality of the forms in an interesting op-art mixture of painting, sculpture and architecture emphasising the ambient eminence of the art work. In this complex process of project realization, starting from the idea and preparation of material by bending and welding wired spirals into lace structures of elongated tube forms, following with colouring them in rich colour of a extensive range of red, blue, yellow, green and purple tones, up to the final act of the ambient execution, that is, creating a sculptural installation in the exhibition space, which sought over nine thousand spiral threads to be manually produced, which were then used to build 484 columns/objects of thick wire “armature” which commanded a year of creative, manual, and physical labour. As it is shown in the language of numbers and codes from the title of the exhibition, this speaks a lot about not just the intricacy of his art manufacture and multi-layered dimension of Majkus works, but also about his imaginative consistency and existential, physical dimension of time wrought in the dense network of lines and forms of emphasized colour spectrum. However, poetically and semantically this production of single forms will see its peak in the last act of the interpretation once the complete work of art is seen as the totality of experiences that produce the effect of the work.
By evoking the graphic experience of multiplying equivalent constructing elements by applying serial handmade process and the aspect of processuality and incompleteness characteristic for the concept of the work in progress, he established the principle of unlimited plastic and spatial possibilities of interpretations of an ever-changing structure and forms of the art work in relation to the architecture of the exhibition space, and the position and interactive character of the observer. With the help of the complex process of editing, mixture and linking on the principle of the assemblage of the whole arsenal of equivalent architectural forms freely formed around solid cores, he espoused a system in which by inventive spatial organization of contrasting relations of colour and forms, simultaneously experiments, creates, stages and poeticizes, often on the edge of creative improvisation between a determined plan and current inspiration, building a coherent sculptural composition as a multi-layered spatial installation, providing continually a new form and meaning. The outcome and ultimate goal is to produce a particular optical, visual-aesthetic or emotional experience, shifting the emphasis from the subject forms according to their impact and interaction with the viewer-observer.
The emphasized painterly element contained in the resilient conflicting relationship of different intensity of light and colour allowed him to express both the material and spiritual quality of material, to accentuate the expressive and dynamic plastic and kinetic characteristics of the wired structures, and to inspire the viewer to conduct a complex and multi-layered observation by actively participating in the creation of aesthetic event/experience filled with strong impressions of clear vibrations and optimistic mood. Playing with such coded language of the spiral code introduces us to the world of an exquisite creative culture in which wired spirals, which are at the same time a starting point and a basic structural element, becomes a means and medium, an object that carries the idea which like Ariadne’s thread draws and moves us through the existential and visual-plastic maze of tangled lines, optical and visual phenomena. Through the mental and physical space of the object-sculpture-installation, where in the visual chaos of lines and forms, like a dense network of architectural tissue, we witness the interweaving of haptic and optical experience, reality and illusion, imaginary and fantastic; immobility of solid material forms and dynamism of composition caused by a moving observer, connects the inner and outer space, combines decorative and constructive, sophisticated drawing and “rough” sculpture, minimalism of spiral form and expressionism of colour and structure.
What in formal and visual-aesthetic sense represents a unique example of unstable spatial megastructure as a coherent picto-sculptural totality, which with its seemingly chaotic, oscillating structure and architectural quality of form, strong chromatic and spatial suggestions and distinctive poetic expression of the material, coloristic and optical sensations, in the contemporary art scene represents of his most relevant creation.