Stano FILKO
From Earth to Pluto

Stano Filko: From Earth to Pluto, SODA gallery 2017

View of Stano Filko, Space of Rocket X, 1967.

15 steel objects and Associations (1968–1970), and silkpringt on paper and pen.

Photo: Adam Šakový. Courtesy of SODA gallery

Curated by Nina Vrbanová

Filko began his artistic practice as a critique of modernist painting, appropriating maps as ready-made canvases and created work influenced by Concrete and Constructivist artists in the mid-1960s. His intricate visual systems created diagrams from everyday objects that were rich in symbolic meaning. 

Filko was included in the 1968 exhibition Nová citlivost [New Sensibility], which was a key, large-scale public exhibition of neo-constructivist work in Czechoslovakia that took place around the time of the Prague Spring (a short-lived period of reform during the spring of 1968). Nová citlivost was first presented in Brno, Karlovy Vary, and then at the Mánes gallery in Prague during the period of normalization that followed the August 1968 Soviet suppression of the Prague Spring. Following this period, strict censorship laws were implemented, resulting in the widespread repression of art and development of underground art movements throughout the 1970s. Filko's piece in Nová citlivost, titled A Room of Love (1965–66), presented relationships between objects and their users. The installation with a mirrored floor supported two beds, each covered with sheets bearing a Latin cross. An inflatable mattress covered one of the beds and a girl sat on the other. 

In his later series of conceptual statements, Asociácie [Association] (1968–69), Filko's interest in transcendental philosophy, cosmology, and metaphysics—which could be seen as a response to the Leninist material ideology—was evident in his offset prints that mapped symbolic images and words. Many works in Association resemble calligrams—for example, one work parsed the linguistic relationship between the words "universe", "earth", "fire", "water", and "air" by organizing each word within a diagram written in Czech, German, Spanish, French, and Latin. 

Filko was also a key figure in Slovak Actionism. In 1965, he wrote "Manifesto of 'HAPPSOC' (Theory of Anonymity)" with theoretician Zita Kostrová and fellow artist Alex Mlynárčik—who was in dialogue with the Paris-based Nouveau Réalisme group. The tongue-in-cheek name was short for "happy society", or "happening" and "society", or "happy socialism". The HAPPSOC group questioned the status of artistic practice as autonomous and created work that intervened in everyday life. The manifesto showed the writers' openness to perceiving reality as a work of art, declaring all of Bratislava as a Happening from 2-8 May 1965, in HAPPSOC 1.

 

 

Jan Verwoert, World as Medium: On the Work of Stano Filko >>> eflux.com

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