Artpool40Active Archives and Art Networks

International Conference of the Artpool Art Research Center

February 20–21, 2020 Museum of Fine Arts, Schickedanz Hall, Budapest

Agustina Andreoletti | Zdenka Badovinac | David Crowley | Katalin Cseh-Varga | Mela Dávila Freire | Lina Džuverović | Meghan Forbes | Daniel Grúň | Sarah Haylett | John Held | Roddy HunterJudit Bodor | Jasna JakšićTihana Puc | Klara Kemp-Welch | Kaja Kraner | Emese Kürti | Karolina Majewska-Güde | Lívia Páldi | Henar Rivière | Sven Spieker | Kristine Stiles | Katalin Timár | Tomasz Załuski | Elisabeth Zimmermann

Daniel Grúň [Biography]
Discrepancy between History and Self-Historicization: Stano Filko in the 1970s


Stano Filko devoted the 1970s almost exclusively to exploring the limits of perception by means of pure art. Using a radically reduced act of painting with white latex and the mechanical motion of a roller, he abandoned the individual signature of the artist. White Space in White Space (1973–1974) emerged in collaboration with two younger artists, Miloš Laky and Ján Zavarský. The mechanical work of the paint roller and repetitive means of production created a potentially infinite surface, which was meant to evoke a non-material white space in an infinite white space. The inner dynamic of the infinite was expressed in the individual stages of realization. For the first time, the project was exhibited in 1974 in a one-day exhibition at the House of Arts in Brno, in 1975 at Biennale de Paris, and in 1977 in Budapest. Subsequently, in 1977–1980 Stano Filko continued working on the White Space independently. The manifestation of the Absolute in the recurring sequences of white surface was an antithesis to the ideology of materialism and a resistance to the conventions of not only socialist but also contemporary art. After his emigration to the US, Filko interpreted the entire project anew in a three-color system: White (Ontology), Blue (Cosmos), Red (Biology), and further “zoning” his works and concepts into the color spectrum of the chakras.

The paper will examine the archives of Stano Filko and other artists (Július Koller, Jiří Valoch, Ján Zavarský, Miloš Laky) in order to reconstruct the project’s periodization. A further focus will be on resonances in the international art scene of the time. White Space in White Space raises several interesting questions due to its “anachronism” and incompatibility with the Western art-historical paradigm of abstract art and minimalism. Stano Filko later antedated and constantly recomposed the initial project, which makes its reception even more complicated. On the other hand, it is often interpreted as one of the key projects of East European neo-avant-gardes. In the paper, I will look more into detail on how the periodization of its development creates contradictions with the project’s self-historicization by Stano Filko.