On 31 January, the evening before the official opening ceremony of Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka hosted the opening of the exhibition “With the Collection” by visual artist David Maljković. It is the first exhibition with which Rijeka started its great cultural year.

“With the Collection” is an open exhibition format, based on a series of collaborations during several time periods and in several locations. The exhibition’s core is represented by the artist’s distinctive site-specific intervention. In an atypical way, it represents the Museum’s collection, which, since its establishment in 1948, has never been represented by a permanent exhibition, primarily due to limited space. To this day, the Museum does not have a permanent exhibition of its collection. With the artist’s spatial reconfiguration, the Museum’s collection will become more present, and the works from the collection themselves will become more than just ordinary artefacts – they will gain new meaning, a new contemporaneity and social relevance.

In building up relationship with the Museum’s collection, Maljković applied his usual artistic methods – the collage approach, the use of display and existing artifacts as materials. He played with the ways of viewing and the exhibition as a well-rounded experience.

Together with David Maljković, the opening of the exhibition was also attended by many partners with whom collaboration within the exhibition has already been or shall be established in the following three months. The Mayor of Rijeka, Vojko Obersnel, and Director of Rijeka 2020, Emina Višnić, also attended the ceremonial part of the opening.

In addition to exhibiting the Museum’s collection, the artist enabled and opened interaction with the collection for three artists of the younger generation. Dora Budor has already performed her intervention titled “There’s something terrible about reality and I do not know what it is. No one will tell me” on the façade of the Museum’s building, which was painted red. It presents a continuation of the work this young artist performed as part of the Casa Tomada exhibition in Mexico City in 2018. A project of another young artist who participates in the exhibition has also already begun. It is “Museum of the Crystal Skull” by Niko Mihaljević. Prompted by the phenomenon of the mythomaniac pop-cultural exploitation of Aztec crystal skulls, with “Museum of the Crystal Skull” Mihaljević explores the transition of mythological narratives into popular culture, and of the digital turn into museumlikeness.

During a dynamic three months the exhibition will be displayed, various social spaces will be established and operating in the Museum’s exhibition area. This was made clear by the very opening of the exhibition, which was accompanied by the community internet radio station, Radio Roža, a temporary “tenant” of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in the coming months. Furthermore, during the exhibition’s run, the exhibition area also features a museum bar “At Charlie’s”, run by Damir Čargonja Čarli.

As part of the exhibition, in late March 2020, Amsterdam-based visual artist Nora Turato will interpret, with her distinctive work, the phenomenon of the private collection, through the Ivana Brlić Mažuranić collection in Villa Ružić, in collaboration with Theodoro de Canziani, the custodian of the collection.

During the exhibition’s run, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art will host a dinner with Klas Grdić, Igor Rukavina, Žarko Violić, Branko Cerovac, and Damir Čargonja Čarli, members of the Rijeka art scene, who were instrumental in Maljković’s artistic formation during the 1990s in Rijeka.

Another integral part of the exhibition is the collaboration with the Dutch Graphic Design and Visual Communications postgraduate studies programme, Werkplaats Typografie – WT, whose students designed the exhibition’s visual identity. In late March, they will participate in a workshop in Rijeka that will bring together students from the WHW Academy and a number of graduates and students from the Rijeka Academy of Applied Arts, under the mentorship of Petra Mrša. Their works, inspired by the Museum’s collection, will also become an integral part of the “With the Collection” exhibition.

David Maljković was born in 1973 in Rijeka. He lives and works in Zagreb. His recent solo exhibitions include The Renaissance Society in Chicago, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Kunstmuseum in St Gallen, the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Artin Gateshead, the Kunsthallein Basel, Van Abbenmuseum in Eindhoven, and Secession in Vienna. He has exhibited at the 11th Gwangju Biennale, 56th Venice Biennale, 29th Biennale in São Paulo, 9th and 11th Istanbul Biennale and more, and his works are part of the collections of many world museums, which include the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, MUMOK in Vienna, Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid, MoMA in New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Tate collection in London.

The curator of the exhibition is Ivana Meštrov. The assistant curator is Katerina Jovanović.

David Maljković’s “With the Collection” exhibition will remain open until 20 April 2020.