That Maja Mihajlovic's work does not quite fit in with any received, formal notion of contemporary art is a pointed hangover from the artist's early days feeling like an outsider in a strange land. Maja was born in France and came to live in England at the age of eight. Her heritage is half-Serbian, half-English, and that most definitely informs her creative practice, which is politicised but highly playful. It is informed by not quite belonging, and cleverly reflects that discomfort. The website for Maja's major collaborative project Take Me To Your Leader is a sensory assault that deliberately harangues its audience, borne of an understandable post-Brexit fury. Collaboration, and devising strategies for it, are key to Maja’s practice.
Maja’s latest work, titled Tweety Pie, is a more subtle yet equally rich exploration of what it might mean to exist in a world in which we are bombarded with a bewildering amount of information and noise. The piece is built around a layered soundscape in which Maja combines any number of recordings including, intriguingly, imitating birdsong.
Update: During lockdown, Maja has released a video of the Tweety Pie project, showing these sounds being played out into the world through a bright yellow adapted gramophone, set up in various locations – everywhere from a supermarket aisle to moorland, a car park to a cave. There is something quite moving about watching this curious looking thing, standing alone and calling out into empty landscapes that will be familiar to many of us in Sheffield and the Peak District, at a time when the outside world is so much quieter than usual. Read more about the project and scroll down for the video (best heard through decent headphones or speakers!)
How would you describe your work?
My work is a thought-process, always changing, so it’s hard to define. It has tended so far to be colour-saturated multimedia sculptural assemblage, with video and sound. I am increasingly interested in sound in relation to the physical world; in all its aspects, actually. It’s become increasingly important for me to use my work to somehow resist and oppose unjust and oppressive systems, actions and ideas; it’s a channel for my distress at the state of things, but also a way to make a space, if possible, for something lighter and truer, something more like joy. My work is a struggle – in various ways.