Shooting Range – Target Universe (1966−67÷2005) is one of Stano Filko’s early action-oriented objects. It looks like a shooting stand between the worlds, with a wall made of wooden boards painted blue facing the beholder. Here four paper sheets are affixed to the middle part, alluding to the shape of shooting targets. This impression is strengthened by marks and bullet holes on the dark circles, and by two rifles that are leaning against the adjacent wall. Three elements stick out, looking like flaps. They clearly incorporate the surrounding space into the work, and on them the word “cosmos” is painted inside rough blue shapes.
This arrangement conceives of real and cosmic space together. Filko’s blue symbolizes the cosmos, appearing together with the targets, which can also be seen to be starlit skies. The cosmic space is also expressed by various diagrams and images of stars. The object itself bears marks that indicate action art. The cosmic targets imply a struggle while also adding connotations of rockets and spacecraft. In this way Filko enacts humanity’s forays into space and reflects on the dissonance between political and artistic appropriation of the cosmos. As in many of his works, his ideas ultimately take the position of the recipients including it as part of the work.
On the back wall of the main hall there are seven works from Filko’s series Constellations, which also address the theme of the appropriation of the cosmic space by humankind. The perforated copper sheets look like a machine-made cartographic system, while also displaying elements of the fantastic. On the one side the perforations are linked by straight lines that create star signs. On the other side the holes are presented without any links, but linguistic categories have been written on the sheets. Some of these words name star signs or seasons of the year like spring and fall
The Constellations raise the question as to our perspective on cosmic space. From the human viewpoint, the stars are collated into pictures, even though they are celestial objects that are millions of kilometers apart. Filko explores the question of the insights and new realities the stars and their constellations might provide. At the same time he rejects the idea of individual artistic expression by using a machine aesthetics that negates artisanship, and that tends to asserts the objectivity of these “scientific” insights and the subjective artistic practice.
Shooting Range – Target Universe / Strelnica-terč: vesmír, 1966−67÷2005
Object, collage, acrylic, wood, two rifles
350 x 180 cm
Constellations / Súhvezdia, 1968 – 69
Copper sheets, perforation
7 pieces, each 50,5 x 30 cm
All works Courtesy Linea Collection, Bratislava; Layr, Wien