Critics’ Picks

Stano Filko, Transcendency—Genie, ca. 1985, acrylic and photo-printing on canvas, dimensions variable. Photo: Giorgio Benni.

Stano Filko, Transcendency—Genie, ca. 1985, acrylic and photo-printing on canvas, dimensions variable. Photo: Giorgio Benni.

Rome

Stano Filko

Layr
Singerstraße 27
September 21–November 9, 2019

Scattered throughout Stano Filko’s artistic production—pneumatic sculptures, utopian architectures, cosmograms, and more—are the same well-articulated conceits that defined his life. In a 2006 interview, Hans Ulrich Obrist called Filko’s house “a universe of fluctuation and instability.” It was there that the artist gave material existence to his ideas, using a transcendent, complex system that subdivided his home into five different areas designated by colors— red indicating the space of biology, green the area of social activity, white the sphere of existence, blue the dimension of the cosmos, and black, toned down with indigo, the site of the ego. Before his final passing in 2015, Filko experienced two clinical deaths, one in 1945 and the other in 1952, prompting his lifelong reflection on transitions of state and dimension—on the otherworldly.

In this exhibition, curated by Pia Remmers, the gallery’s reflective flooring pays homage to similarly mirrored elements of numerous early Filko works, including Modely vyhliadkovej veže-architektúra (Models of the Lookout Tower Architecture) and Environment Univerzál (Environment Universal), both 1966–67. Remmers’s choice activates the space and coaxes out two unavoidable themes in Filko’s artistic output: the double, derived not only from his presumed reincarnations but also from the cosmology of his zodiac sign, Gemini; and the clone—that is, the various forms of the self that repeat, identical yet distinct, like the recurring and defaced photograph central to Transcendency—Genie, ca. 1985, a wall-mounted scroll of canvas, reminiscent of a filmstrip, that unspools onto the polished ground.

Filko loads the majority of his forms with an occult symbolism: In EGOQ and From the cycle Astrocosmolonomogy, both ca. 2000, the pyramid indicates an ascendant, searching path between the immanent and cosmic precincts. Filko’s works thus act as time portals, since, as he put it, “artists are beings of the third, fourth and fifth dimension.”

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.