Curator: Ivana Janković
The Transcedentia cycle is only a segment of Filko’s artworks from the Collection represented, representing just a part of his immense area of research as a multimedia artist. Stano Filko (1937) belongs to the founders of conceptual art in Slovakia, as one of the most radical artists engaged in the underground art scene of the 60s and 70s of the 20th century, during the era of political repression. His conceptual practice, including (anti)happenings, land art, ambient, installations, objects, multiples, text art projects, and all kinds of diagramed drawings, evades any thorough insight of his comprehensive oeuvre. Also, his two clinical deaths are essential for his art work, as a kind of trigger for his inspiration, which was developing along with his research in and influences of philosophy, cosmology, religion and technological progress.
Although many works that he made in Slovakia in the time of strong censorship raise questions about the cultural, social but also private circumstances, they are often deeply immersed in the notion of cosmic exploration, today’s worldwide popular transhumanist ideas, as well as in German Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s and Moravian Edmund Husserl’s theories of phenomenology, especially the phenomena of Transcendence, but also some other metaphysical theories. Despite the media he is using, his works reveal his own philosophical “individual mythology”, consisting of 5 dimensions and 12 chakras each equally treated as a color of spectrum: RED as biological sphere, GREEN as socio-political space, WHITE as ontological space, BLUE as cosmic space, or INDIGO/BLACK as space of subject. This system is also the main code for understanding his works.
The series of photographs titled either Transcendency or Transcendention, represented on this occasion, encompasses an evolution of the theoretical and practical concept of White space in a White Space that he developed together with Miloš Laky and Jan Zavarský in the 70s, as well as so-called “text-art”, several manifestos on the theme of White space he published between 1977 and 1980, such as Transcendentia.
Filko intervenes on his black-and-white or gold-toned photographs by cutting out the heads of persons in a shape of circle or square, or covering their or his own figure with white tempera. Sometimes he uses photomontage to erase them, leaving the empty space on the photographs. This white color or emptiness represents the white dimension, a stage on a path to Transcendence, to the “pure, nonphysical, eternal, and absolute art”. However, these artworks are the most powerful answer to and criticism of the time of cultural and political regime ideology in Slovakia in the 60s and 70s. This was the reason he emigrated to Germany in the next decade, where he exhibited this cycle at Documenta 7 in Kassel in 1982.