Feature: Maja Mihajlovic: Follies

Artist Maja Mihajlovic's 'misremembered spaces' are the uncanny places through which we wander in our dreams

Maja Mihajlovic is a Bakewell-based artist currently working on a project centred around the image of the house as a complex metaphor for the self, our relation to others and the world around us. She says of the work, titled Follies: “It is a way of thinking about the emotions of space, and about being and belonging. I am interested in the power of space, how we inhabit it or interact with it, how it becomes part of us.”  Houses are loaded spaces, and as such, fertile ground for artistic exploration because, as Maja says, “we have such a primitively powerful relationship with the places of our intimate lives”.

  Follies, which was exhibited recently as part of Wirksworth Festival’s art trail opening weekend, currently exists as a combination of drawings rendered in muted colours and small sculptures created from a variety of materials, namely wax and tissue paper. An assortment of small structures, some seemingly solid, others more delicate and precarious, are positioned around the exhibition space.

Drawn partly from memory and partly from imagination, Maja’s ethereal constructions have a sense of the familiar to them - the house is a recognizable structure, its shape easily identified by all - yet they are tinged with the uncanny.

“Memories of houses and places experienced in childhood and throughout life feed into my imagery, and are altered by imagination, and the creative process. “

For instance, a house built over 18 years by her father in his native Belgrade, and never lived in by Maja’s family, was at the heart of her artistic exploration into homes, she came to realise.  It was only after her father’s death that she was finally able to visit the still unfinished building. 

Subconsciously, the memory of this ‘unlivable’ house, “made of all cast concrete, dark and cold - a hard-edged sofa pit, a cold fireplace and chimney piece, window seats without windows to look out of…” has prompted a profound interrogation of space and its impact on us, which has shaped the work.

Devoid of any evidence of human life or existence, Maja’s houses are the familiar yet strangely altered “misremembered spaces” we wander in our dreams.

"I put the work ‘out there’, in the belief that although it emerges from my own experience, it isn’t just about me, and the feelings it carries will be recognized by at least some others, out in the world." 

  Maja is currently studying on the Creative Art Practice BA at Sheffield Hallam University where she will continue to develop this body of work. She hopes to exhibit the work again in the near future. You can find out more about the artist and her work on her website, and you can also follow Maja’s progress as she charts the development of this work on her blog.