25.10.2023 - 13.01.2024

Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno

Curator: Denisa Kujelová

Opening: 25th October, 7 pm


The early work of Jiří Hilmar (*1937) was marked by the art trends of the time, especially the principles of Concretism[1] (whose club[2] he co-founded in Czechoslovakia in 1967), as well as by the activation of the viewer, the processuality of perception and the thematization of movement. Kinetic objects in the form of mechanical machines and objects working with light sources and shadow effects[3]  were followed by several years of the artist's thorough investigation of the phenomenon of mobile procedural perception in paper reliefs folded into optical structures. These mostly square formats of various sizes produced an optical illusion through the movement of the observer and the change of his or her position in relation to the work, thus transforming the visual qualities of the surface.

In the square, whose shape the artist saw as an ideal anonymous form[4]  referring to the ideas of Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich or Victor Vasarely, he created structures in various systems according to mathematical principles and seriality from horizontally, vertically and diagonally arranged monochrome or multicolour strips of folded and, in many cases, also incised paper. The opto-kinetic principle was achieved by varying the height of the strips, their shape, the method and degree of their bending, the method of perforation, and also the shape and colour of the tempera used for individual fragments (most often circles and their sections). The variation of contrasts and intersections continued after his emigration to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1969, where he settled for more than 40 years.

The active involvement of the viewer was also part of the next cycle of works which were defined by a system of overlapping vertical strips or strings. In this new structural plan, in which one of the elements was always firmly attached to the base and the other hung freely above it, the works could again be set in motion, now literally, by the participation of the observer. Parallel to this, in the 1970s the artist created monochromes from layered tracing paper, fixed to canvas or wooden boards, most often also in square formats. The individual layers of transparent paper were only recognizable by their deliberate distortion with various types of creasing, perforation, rippling and gradations or variations of the repetitive regular patterns of the collaged fragments.

After moving to the Halfmannshof art colony in Gelsenkirchen in 1974, located in the heavily devastated landscape of the Ruhr area, Hilmar naturally moved towards environmental issues. In addition to paper, he began to incorporate into his reliefs natural materials such as jute, wax, kaolin and also wood, in the form of sticks and matchsticks. In the 1980s, when nature became an equal co-agent in his work, and creative intervention in natural processes started to prevail in his work, he turned permanently to a single material - wood. He partially dismantled the original autonomous shapes of branches and trunks and then reconstructed them by rejoining, tying or crossing them into new units of wooden objects and installations. He deliberately interfered in the originally round found fragments of trees in an invasive and openly completely contradictory square manner followed by a final gesture of re-rounding, in order to manifest the oneness of man and nature, which he sought in his work and life. 



HILMAR, Jiří, VÍCHOVÁ, Ilona, HIEKISCH-PICARD, Sepp. Jiří Hilmar/ Adagio. Praha, Museum Kampa – Nadace Jana a Medy Mládkových, 2015.

POHRIBNÝ, Arsen. Klub konkrétistů po dvaceti letech. In: Revue K, 1988–89, nos. 32–33.

“Optické reliéfy“ Jiřího Hilmara, Rozhlas, ČRo 3 – Vltava, Mozaika, 24 February 2011.

[1] The principles of Concretism were defined in interwar art by Theo van Doesburg, who first used and coined the term in 1930, and later in the 1930s by Max Bill, the main promoter of this art movement. De Stijl, the Bauhaus, and also the Russian avant-garde were followed in the 1950s by the activities of the Swiss neo-concretists led by Richard Paul Lohse, and partly by kinetic art in the Düsseldorf Zero movement, the GRAV group in Paris, the Gruppo N in Padua and the Gruppo T in Milan.

[2] Together with Tomáš Rajlich, Radoslav Kratina, Miroslav Vystrčil and the art theorist Arsén Pohribný he co-founded the KK/CC - The Concretists’ Club (9 May 1967 - ca. 1972), whose activities were followed by the new KK2 in 1997 and KK3 in 2007.

[3] In this context it is also worth mentioning hydro-kinetic objects from 1974.

[4]Optické reliéfy“ Jiřího Hilmara, Rozhlas, ČRo 3 – Vltava, Mozaika, 24 February 2011.



Fait Gallery, Ve Vaňkovce 2, Brno

Curatorial concept: Boris Ondreička

Exhibition architecture: studeny architekti

Project coordinator: Denisa Kujelová

Opening: 6. 10. 2021, 7 pm


Stanislav (from now on StanoFilko (1937, Veľká Hradná, Czechoslovakia – 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia) remains undoubtedly one of the most important figures of (Czecho-)Slovak art in all of its history. At the same time he is one of our most internationally active artists – whether by participation in important international exhibitions, or by being included in most relevant collections or respect-worthy critical reflection in media. Filko is an inseparable part of parallel chronologies of global art.

His defining, unique position grew from elements of permanence of the most actual, primal and groundbreaking (time). It is specific in complex ideational and formal levels or dimensions. His submersions into sensitivity / spirituality – in a conflictual relationship with mundane contemporaneity and system-oriented (cosmologically-directed) everything (that) is unique. Hence we can read him also as a nonagressive critique of concretion. Filko’s (truly transgenerational) œuvre is also quantitatively excessive and internally most diverse alongside all its coordinates (x-depth, y-width, z-height).

Filko (by his nature “permanently” and “everything” and “most”) can never cease to “have something to tell”.

Even if REGISTER presents every one of his periods and all of his typical artistic positions, it does not seek to manifest a complete retrospective. Filko’s art is perpetually expansive and scattered. It still needs a much longer-term examination and a final “tidying up” (synthesis). A complete analysis, catalogue raisonné, will be difficult to assemble.

That is not the possibility nor the ambition of this project. 

This, perhaps the largest exhibition of Stano Filko’s works to this date, has the ambition of technically sorting and arranging a focused collection (list, register). The extent includes just as the capacity of the Fait Gallery so a number of artworks brought from other sources. Fait Gallery (for example by its height) allows for a presentation of works that have not yet been possible to install. REGISTER for the first time ever exhibits many artworks that have never been made public.

REGISTER wants to be a literal enabling of a didactic entry into the encyclopedia ~ thesaurus of the supply and grammar of this multi-talented artist (listing, registering). It seeks to present logics >> logistics of his thinking, expressive elements and procedures of production and distribution. It assigns the logos (“what”, denominator), graphopathos and nomos (“how”, numerator) in its orientation towards the cosmos (“for what purpose”). It shows the amazing variability of Filko’s performance in presently and spatially organized variants of his particular attributes, sortes.

REGISTER wants to help read and (weightfully also) understand these artworks / this work of art. Already their / its viewing requires the activation of a relatively high amount of awareness (contemplation) and a subsequent combinatorics. Filko lectures in „foreign“ languages, the literal translation of which will not help us. It has to be interpretative and allegorical. Interpretationism means that REGISTER can not shed the form of a commentary.

The curator and the architect are here rather registrars (conservators, record keepers) taking care of the order of the matrices (matrix) of Filko’s already proto-archival grids. REGISTER is a phenomenological / typological and also a methodological approach to his thought, work and language. From this language comes also the production of a family of architectonic, furniture, modular elements / sdk system. Podia, tables, vitrines, stands, shelves... are utility platforms of communication. Even if their material, construction and geometry accord/respond both to Filko’s vocabulary as well as to the Fait gallery, they are not commentaries towards the artists’ work or locale. They seek to be only transparency- and overview-making support, basis. The use of reflective plastic wrap is seeking to neutralise the ambient as much as possible, to the place of useful facticity.

REGISTER is processual. It accents the observation and understanding of the evolution of becoming against the result of being. REGISTER can no longer even be an exhibition of Stano Filko. His (to the location specifically reacting) personal / singular installation of works in situ will remain unimitated. It does not seek to play / simulate HIM, his ark. It doesn’t seek to imitate. But it can legitimately (quasi-archivally) speak ABOUT HIM. So that it is not an “exhibition of Stano Filko”, but an “exhibition about Filko”.

REGISTER aims to secure (in the space, architecture of the exhibition) an overview with a through-view. It wants to make available the diversity of the backgrounds not only of his idea, but also the factical reverses of his works (often as important as their front sides). Here it is possible to speak of a non-linear text-time-spatiality, both in the sense of works themselves as in the progress of his laborious self-museologization (or mythologization), as in the layers of the present REGISTER. It is only the self-museologization that Filko devotes himself to after his return home from emigration = since the beginning of the 1990s until his death. His interpretational self-museologization (recultivation via the means of a linguistic turn) is physically image-shattering. It is, in a way, möbiuous. It redraws, drills through, readjusts. It robustly, even brutally enters into its past. Physiognomically, he (harmoniously) accords to his enormous work. His art is mimetic to him (and vice versa).  Illusory mimesis is the precursory substance of all art. It re-vitalizes. It re-constitutes. It ignores physis and time against conservation – for improvement. He is exceptionally counter-conservative. He considers everything equivalent, referential and linking. He perceives everything as generic of a multivalent one (where from) to a unique one (where to). He remains therefore permanently young until the last of his days. He creates “third” artworks. REGISTER focuses on the whole = Filko’s everything.

Even for the presence of the “third” artwork, the construction of this, automatically polyphonous and multimedia (polymuse) ambient does not apply chronology and avoids periodisation (even though it does not deny their importance in the possible catalogue raisonné).

On one hand, REGISTER concentrates on formal (object-oriented) numerators. On the other hand, on content-oriented / thematic (subject-oriented) denominators. With him, the subject and object (the variables of morphing states) alternate and interweave. Filko finds corresponding material for his expression – versus – in material he finds the expression of his ideas (or epoch…). The exhibition aims to elucidate also the tensions, energetic or logical synapses (strings) and the omnipresent infrastructure between them. From that follow regularities (wireless and wired) of networkings of organizational, hierarchical (infographic, diagrammatic, organigramic) molecules and structures. It seeks to illuminate by attached (parallel) annotations (thesaurus) and spatially / architectonically. It therefore orders the movement, pathways (or fractals) of visitors’ own readings. In Filko, these linkages are not ordered one-by-one, but as crossing-through (literally) = dia-meta- and trans- (through), kinetic cobwebs of the object, image and text (additive and comparative meshwork of versions) and ultra- or hyper- (above). At his, the height is a continuation of the depth = one axis. Somehow rotating diagonal (and crossingcrossroad) is in his works marked in this direction (in all directions, as a quasar).  Just as Filko connects (by paintingdrawingpoints (holes) of stars into constellations and repeats them also via explicit or metaphorical names or amends them by dashed graphemes of trajectories. In his take, even the particularities do cluster together fragment-to-fragment. REGISTER therefore assembles a hybrid foundation of components. It grows from the fact that (for example) the blue coordinate on a map simultaneously belongs to the group (dimension of cosmicblue as to the medium of maps. We can not tear the map apart. The logistics of the arrangement of REGISTER is associative. It is more analytic than synthetic.

REGISTER does not consider Filko complicated and difficult, but as composed and complex in the direction of understanding him in toto.

His essentially created system contains a typologically-oriented (allegoric) sign and object, his color coding (as on, in the object itself, so between juxtaposedly, and becomes an individual artwork in itself) and a kind of masores(notational, interpretative apparatus, also justifiedly autonomous). Filko’s logos and grapho (also pharmakon) name, describe narratively, to come to an acronymical generalization = legislating a suprapersonal sign of validity. From gnosis to dogma. From soul to spirit. His order of the whole (cosmos) resembles periodic tables of elements (thing, name, sign, quantitative expression / number, color, sub-group entry…). This exhibition is an effort to understandably overdub or at least subtitle the individual attributes. REGISTER is a simultaneous (vis-à-vis works of Filko, and with a temporal distance from him physically consecutive) translation of an experimental language of a gematric (and digital) perspective. See the following (in the table of REGISTER the key) chapter – thesaurus (treasury register). Thesaurus has a direct relationship to the didactics of his Transcendental meditation – TEXT ART (paper print, 1980).

Filko draws from a syncresis of mediterranean myth (especially judeo-christian traditionalism with speculations about Slavic paganism…), art history, mas-media reflexion (or mediation) and popular science (especially physics and technology). He is involved in and in an avant-garde way creates a new axonometry of Western (European…) and supra-planetary mysticism – ethos in his seeing. His language is intertwined by individualized versions of archetypal hieroglyphs. For this REGISTER also introduces a number of historical analogies to the possible annales of his thinking and production – on the basis of comparative or metaphorically intuited “something (yet unnamed) and something else (already named)”. References to references.

Flko’s arrangements of principles permanently react to everything actual (overimpulsedness of the heartbeat of the present). He is characterised by an exceptional ability of adaptation or of appropriation of any possible attributes ~ resemblance to itself (some kind of reverse mimesis). Perpetually, he is interested in the correlation between the physical and the metaphysical. On the other hand he concentrates on the relentless material, sourceful (textual...) retrospectiveness of his biography ~ autobiography. His retrospectival reconfiguration denies personal time. Some phases of reconfigurations are dubbed clones in the sense of identi-fiction. According to the clones he heteronymizeshis own ego. He uses his diasphorical self as a mirror of transpositioning (in his sense centre, core) of humanity (including the deep Big-Bang) and in contrast – humanity (and the entire universe) is seen in the concept of “I” or – “I” is donated to humanity. From imagination to the image. That is the mode (or meme) of his specific altruism. At the same time he is looking in front (futuristically) and above (para-theologically and cosmistically) himself. It Is a kind of permanent out-of-body experience or fantasy. And the retroactive redrawing of himself is also defined by a securing of control (reinforcing) of the reading of him (as a totem, for some connoisseurs a cult, even) by others in the future. In a textual ambition for reincarnation, he secures immortality for himself. He leaves behind sufficient coordinates. REGISTER follows (them).

If we speak of a system – his lucid aim is an all-embracing re-normativization with a significant suggestion of extraordinary morality. Re-normativization assumes that it is important to get rid both of sediments (habits, prejudices, doxae) of the previous political reality (learned >> to unlearn). Only in that way we would be able to settle for a (single) true substance, coherence (episteme). So Filko’s work does not accept the difference between the subjective and the objective. Everything is everything in a totalitarian (auto- and cosmocratic) demand (in his faith of truth / truth of faith). Universal truth must traverse the step of the physical state of the universe and socially must shed all moral relativism.

There is probably no place, area or medium (or -ism), with which Stano wouldn’t dedicate himself to. He „painted“ (on) EVERYTHING he had at his disposal.

Filko would like to have the volumes (and scrolls) of his ars magna sorted linearily (as the ladders of Ramon Llulla and Leibniz’s monads and the cabalistic schemes of Isaac Luria or the trees / scales of being of Porphyry of Tyre). But he understood that individual elements (and methods, methodologies) do relate and conjoin, overlap on the basis of gravity, magnetism, sympathies of contents (materials...) and values. He is fully aware that  many of the first words are already composed and have multiple meanings. He knows that there are flexible partial affinities, transient states – what the overall character of the (predatory) contemporary art is... His work does (rhizomatically) concern numerous platforms of his genealogical stump at the same time.

He thus creates (for us a multimodal and modular and multimedia) cosmology of alchemy of an internet of everything. Therefore we must visualize and read him hypertextually, metalinguistically, asymmetrically, synchronously with all elements at once. A possible reading of such an amoeba (or liquid crystal) is possible only by a spatial arrangement.

To take Filko (as how still it is moving in cycles) for a conceptualist is wrong. His work is changing since (generationally) legendary 60s and 70s of the 20th century. And as is mentioned – even by manifestly drawn and through other entries into his inside he morphs precisely that inside. We must speak of him as of a continually contemporary art (or Contemporary art). From a certain angle of view (or a bird’s eye view also enabled by the Fait Gallery capacities) it can be taken for a symptomatic nomisma (or token) of the entire post-war art history (including asides into earlier avant-gardes and a recollecting of classical art), integration of all styles and directions (not giving up on the image of an art style). Even in regard of the use of an entire spectrum of media we could consider it responsible, a flowing representative of all medial strategies after the avant-gardes. Afterwards it creates its own termina technicae, -logies and -isms.

The leading perpendicularity of his iconic systems is an expression of a faith in progress (accelerable evolution), ascension. He names it with a series of energetic plexes, nodes, which he calls chakras (points, frames…). He is holistically (Gestalt) identic inside of a body as in the whole personal living, civilizational struggle, in the entire universe. Just as the sephirahs of a cabalistic tree ~ Adam’s body and their hyperobject emanations.

Filko is elevated above the realms of body and matter. His appendices to the ordinary physical reality (including realpolitik and plebean tempos) are hubristic. For him, people are figures in a three-dimensional game. He objectifies. He sees his position in a similar way to a mise-en-scène – however as a screenwriter and scenographer (logosgraphospharmakontektonarchitecton...). But also as director, CEO, architect. For him Being is not LIKE drama, but IS (disco-postmodern) farce, commerz.

He believes in reincarnation (being re-born). Instinctively >> intuitively >> spiritualistically he thinks about reaching something most noble. It elevates him above our strata. Maybe towards something that Judaism calls Ein sof. His whole life he is preparing for ascension (henosis = becoming one) into a limitless, formless (out-of-form) fluid. He plans and realizes a tour through the goldwhite towards the transparent, the hole… to a nothing of depersonalization, dematerialization. His categorical contemplation does in many ways resemble also (ValentinianGnosticism and carries within pieces of buddhism or nihilism. He is a believer, however it is not possible to note any love towards God expressed or a (“more concrete”) God as such (except for himself, incarnate). His work has rather a different trajectory (similar to the iconoclasm of Judaism or Islam) – people and the world are reduced to geometric schema. Bodies are changed to solids, elements. 

REGISTER (except for minimal exceptions) does seek to avoid psychologization and (distances) and disagreements (except for suggested analogies) or opinions. It wants to be as little personal as possible. It wants (by organized exposition of the collections) to analyze, talk about him without slandering. It wants to care about him. But it is necessary to remark that also Filko’s eminent interest in the cosmos (and everything above the scorned, profaned life) is perhaps an expelled, sublimated anxiety of a regime in which he grows up, from which he (for a while) runs away. Perhaps also even from a country which was always a bit too small for him (therefore not for its totalitarian regime). That could be aligned with similarly tuned horizons of thought of his more distant (towards Mlynarčík, Laky, Zavarský) and (it can be said) directly politically-oriented colleagues Július Koller or Rudolf Sikora. He collaborates with them on the manifestos Time I (1973) and II (1974).

REGISTER is therefore also our masores of Filko’s masores of his individual works and his indivisible œuvre. As is stated here numerous times – the artist’s final activities are aimed at re-creation, integration of a single artwork from all of them per se (magnum opuspar excellence. This concerns also his merz-bau atelier-object on Snežienková street in Bratislava and his intended final ark in Veľká Hradná = his birthplace.

Brevity is necessary for the requirement of manageable communicativeness (user-friendliness) of this enormous phenomenological, typological, methodological volume. REGISTER considers the intelligibility of interpretation as key to translation >> understanding of the work of Stano Filko (in the detail, individual artworks and) as a whole. A series of lectures and programme will be the accompaniment of the spatial solution-arrangement.   

REGISTER is an expression of absolute respect towards Filko’s demand for “everything” and therefore can not be meant as a completed work. It is one of the phases (maybe) of an infinite relay of research of artworks and works of Stano Filko by many.


Translation: Lukáš Makovický


Project was created with financial support of Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and
Statutory city of Brno.

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