Maja Maljević was born in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1973. Having completed her schooling, she spent seven years obtaining her Masters in Fine Arts at the University of Belgrade, graduating in 1999. In 2000 she moved to South Africa, in order to escape the political turmoil in her own country. She has been living and working in Johannesburg since then.
Maljević’s particular style begins with “dirtying” the canvas with a layer of bright paint that breaks the baldness of the white surface and opens up the space for Maljević’s intuitive jigsaw endeavour. Onto this ground, Maljević builds up surfaces with drips, blocks, bands and waves of colour, searching for harmony between colour and form, line and shape, expansive surface and small detail. For Maljević, physical movement is an important part of the process – never can she be found sitting at an easel. Through her own version of gestural abstraction, Maljević prevents the composition from becoming staid and self-indulgent, as she has put it, and allows action and conflict to occur between the different elements with which she is engaged. Reworking the formal mechanisms of Modernism to suit her contemporary needs – as a painter, a printmaker and also most recently as a sculptor – Maljević’s primary objective is coherence between all the individual elements within a composition, whether they are in conflict or co-existing harmoniously, and therefore its integral logic.