by Marie-Christine Fritsch
Davor Džalto is an artist of manifold talents. His œuvre until now is varied and complex, yet communicative and accessible and therefore interesting.
It comprises traditional, modern and contemporary techniques and mediums which allow him to present a wide range of expressions. His paintings which include icons, portraits, figurative and non-figurative as well as abstract works but also his graphics, drawings and calligraphy show a colorful and positive approach, combined with sincere and profound consideration of every detail. In his objects and even more in his installations and video(installation)s his diversity and interests, clearly rooted in the post modern discourse, become even more evident as he appears as person, artist and author. So the inherent aspect of presence and absence in gradually changing intensities make the object of his discussion: He “marks” chosen natural or public sites and spaces (or even himself) with his varying shadow or clothes, with drawings, imprints and traces of his own body, his feet or hands, or with letters and words in order to define space (место) and his position and relation to it. All these elements serve as re-definition of space either physically, visually or verbally and they all can be of permanent, ephemeral or even of temporally limited nature.
The color red as a guiding line is a recurrent theme in his installations. They engage the observer in the artist's critical reflection about where to place one’s physical as well as spiritual home. Not only geographically but also within the time we live in today. His critique illustrates in several facets that this time and our position in it, most probably due to our own faults, is subjected to conditions and influences, which we don’t recognize as such, i.e. the often covered mechanisms of globalization and hidden imperialist aims. Maybe that is because we forgot to learn how to consider our own position and our own possible role as an attentive observer and above all as an individual within a space and time, we are not anymore capable of defining by ourselves. And even if we do so, it happens without us being conscious of our own perceptions.
Facing an artwork of this potential, the very process of reflecting upon our own presence or absence may appear to be a disconcerting exercise, because we don’t know where to turn to. And exactly this dilemma brings us back to the important number of icons in the work of Davor Džalto. By their nature icons approach us in our space we strive to define. They issue an invitation to re-establish an interactive relation between the observer and the icon, to initiate a dialogue about truth, verisimilitude and (our own) transience. It is up to us to deny or accept. And this is probably where we need to learn again, how to engage in this dialogue, which then basically will not be only about art and our “space” but mostly about ourselves as a person.
It will be interesting to follow closely the development and career of Davor Džalto as person, artist and author and to see the ideas, reactions, questions and answers he will find for himself, and how he then is willing to share them with us.