For the upcoming presentation, Majda Vidakovic - Leftovers II, the Serbian-born artist Majda Vidakovic selected an array of sculptures that she has made over the past 3 years. Each object has a serene quality; they’re made from natural materials such as wood, ceramics or cardboard. Their mainly monochrome colors hold this same natural quality; hues vary from sand to concrete. Each of the works has been made from, or assembled from found objects.
Throughout the 20th century, artists scoured streets, flea markets and scrap yards looking for discarded objects with nostalgic or banal qualities to include them in assemblages, photograph them or display them in their own right. Vidakovic does not look for nostalgia or banality, she seems to specifically select found objects whose potential has not fully been exploited. Take for example the legs of one sculpture from her 'Leftover' series. The two structures that support the sculpture as a whole once served their purpose as CD racks. Made from wood, these pieces of furniture have been designed and crafted to last for decades, eventually outliving the one thing it was designed to hold. Another example found in multiple of Vidakovic’s sculptures are cardboard pulp containers. These containers are oddly shaped, made to hold expensive, fragile, contents like televisions, stereos or kitchen appliances. They are built to protect, but as soon as their contents are taken from them, they’re without function, but still full of potential.
What continuously comes back in Vidakovic’s work is the association with artifacts, fossils, mystical symbols and relics - different kinds of remains and traces of history, taking on a material form. Whichever material it is, the need to present an object in its ‘imperfect’ form, by giving it a new platform, reflects on how she deals with the past and where she comes from.
Vidakovic makes the link with her native Serbia, a ‘leftover’ country of now former Yugoslavia - the country that no longer exists, but lives on through memories, monuments, objects and architecture. After WWII, socialist Yugoslavia was led by Josip Broz Tito who wanted to reconstruct the land that was destroyed in many ways. Architects and sculptors were commissioned to build monuments and buildings representing this new young country, ‘built from ashes’. Unlike in the so-called Eastern Block led by USSR where Social Realism was predominant as a concept, Yugoslav architects and artists embraced Brutalism, modernist style emerged soon after the war and right on time for rebuilding the country eager to establish itself between two worlds, western democracy and the communist east.
About a half of a century later Yugoslavia ceased to exist but its modernist heritage left deep traces. How to understand monuments of the country that didn’t make it? Could they be preserved without the context of their origin? Should their political context affect their artistic value as it often happens in “leftover YU countries”? With her sculptures and installations Vidakovic is not aiming at answering these questions but rather pointing at the complexity of what she calls leftover memorabilia linked to her personal heritage. Just like the abstract monuments that were supposed to radiate optimism after the Second World War in former Yugoslavia, Vidakovic wants to preserve that spirit by following the same aesthetic in her ceramics and installations. With her new series of works ‘Brutalist Sandcastles’ ’she gives these ephemeral and fragile found objects a new ‘concrete’ status.