Clinical Death Tunnel and Ballon Works
The work Clinical Death Tunnel (2010), an extended silver tube, is placed in a central position in the exhibition’s main hall. This hosepipe-like structure seems to be floating in space and to create its own field of gravity. The installation is unusually long and adds a dynamic to the room by drawing attention to its horizontal level. At the same time, it also has the function of a barrier. Clinical Death Tunnel thrusts forward into the empty space beneath the larger ladder-shaped work, and it is also linked up with a pointing-down pyramid.
The form of the tunnel is often used in order to depict intergalactic travel, and Clinical Death Tunnel thus also suggests an unusual level of time. Filko saw tubes and tunnels as the visualization of the 5th dimension, with the pyramid as a portal into this dimension. The colors silver and white also facilitate the further unfolding of the 5th dimension. It is something absolute, as it comprises all the other dimensions and contains unfathomable themes like emptiness, nothingness, and death. With this ensemble of works Filko explores existential themes that are situated within the force fields of the spiritual world.
The tunnel can also symbolize restriction and death, while life is often seen as light and expansion. Restriction and expansion can be seen as one cosmic principle — one which is key in the two balloon works here. Air pumps create a cycle of movement within the balloons, so that these continually expand and contract. The symbolism of the color black on the balloon with text ALTRUISTADSEIQ 5.4.3.D (EGO Balloon) (2005) also denotes that here the ego as a human principle is involved. It stands for a tense state in which on the one hand the ego can be strongly reduced and become nothing, while on the other hand humankind expands and takes effect by means of the ego, including to the point of altruism.
Among the words that the text-images on the black balloon present are the words “Altruista,” an unselfish altruism, and also “Borns” and “Deaths.” This indicated a further dimension of the ego that Filko generated in a story he told about himself. He spoke of several “clinical deaths” he had experienced in serious accidents in 1945, 1952, and 1977. This also leads back to the Clinical Death Tunnel. Filko’s birth was also complicated, lasting three days, as surviving documentation witnesses. Birth and death do not seem to be contradictions, and Filko uses both in the plural, probably in order to further subdivide his own identity and artistic creation. In this way, Filko as a person becomes a part of his own reflective system, and art and life become one.
A contrast to the expansion of the ego is presented in the transparent balloon Globe in the Color of Transparent Chakra (2005). For this work Filko used the highest chakra of the 5th dimension: transparency. Several levels higher than white, transparency represents a force that is closest to the void without however become an ultimate nothingness. Transparent emptiness is (active and passive) nothingness and death, but at the same time also the endless space in which life unfolds. Here Filko draws on an element of the cyclical logic of far-eastern and transcendental philosophy. Nothingness had a high status for the intelligentsia of the late 1960s, as the ultimate negative form and attitude of refusal, and Filko and his circle identified with this idea.
Clinical Death Tunnel / Tunel klinickej smrti, ca. 2010
2000 x Ø 35,2 cm
Rotated Pyramid – Woman / Otočená pyramída – Žena, 2000-06
Metal, perforation, paint
115 x 150 x 150 cm
ALTRUISTADSEIQ 5.4.3.D (EGO Balloon) / ALTRUISTADSEIQ 5.4.3.D. (EGO Balón), ca. 2005
Inflatable balloon, paint
Ø ca. 200 cm
Globe in the Color of Transparent Chakra / Guľa vo farbe transparentnej čakry, ca. 2005
Plastic, fan, electric cable
Ø 260 cm
25 000 B.C. – 1937, ca. 1995
130 x 1500 cm
All works Courtesy Linea Collection, Bratislava; Layr, Vienna