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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » June 29, 2015
Exhibitions
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Filko and Lurie at Zachêta Gallery
June 29, 2015   
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Work by internationally famous Slovak conceptual artist Stano Filko is on show in a new exhibition at the Zachêta Gallery in Warsaw.

Filko, aged 78, started out as a post-cubist painter but soon gravitated toward conceptual art. According to exhibition curator Joanna Kordjak, Filko was one of the most radical avant-garde artists in postwar Slovakia. “In the latter half of the 1960s, he outlined his thoughts on art and on the perception of space in several manifestos,” says Kordjak. “We are exhibiting his conceptual work.”

Filko gained international recognition in the late 1960s with pioneering “environment” projects. The exhibition at the Zachêta gallery, entitled Filko-Fylko-Phylko, comprises installations, collages, videos and items documenting a range of such projects and performance events. Filko unveiled his last project in this vein, an installation, in 1970. Entitled Breathing and also known as The Wind and The Pneumatic Heart, it is the centerpiece of the exhibition in Warsaw. The installation comprises a balloon, six meters in diameter, that is inflated and deflated at regular intervals. Filko is referring here to the ancient concept of the breath being linked to the human soul.

Items on show include projects Filko made shortly before emigrating to the United States in 1982. One of them is the famous Associations series of prints and objects based on utopian urban projects.

The title of the exhibition consists of different spellings of Filko’s last name that were used at specific points in his life.

Most of the 100 items that make up the Filko-Fylko-Phylko exhibition come from the Slovak National Gallery, which has helped organize the exhibition. Filko-Fylko-Phylko is on show until Aug. 16.

The Zachêta gallery is also hosting an exhibition of paintings entitled I Am Trying to Think. Please Be Quiet, featuring work by musician and actor John Lurie.

Lurie made a name for himself appearing in early movies directed by Jim Jarmusch. He also wrote movie scores, while Polish audiences became more familiar with him in the 1990s, when he came to Poland with his band The Lounge Lizards. He released 22 albums with the band, but then in the late 1990s Lyme disease put a stop to his music and acting career. Instead, Lurie turned to painting, which had been a passion of his for years. He had his public debut as a painter at the Anton Kern Gallery in New York City, which exhibited his early work in 2004.

Lurie is known for not taking things too seriously, including what the public thinks of him. Now an accomplished painter, Lurie has had his work exhibited at such venues as the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Montreal, the Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean in Luxembourg and the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. Still, he often says that not all of his paintings are good and some were only meant as experiments, so he cannot understand the interest in his work as a whole.

Lurie’s paintings are somewhat similar to his music in that he likes to improvise. At the same time, his pictures are unsettling and provocative. He paints some of them with a lot of care and sensitivity, while others look like rudimentary sketches with recurring themes and characters. His art is highly personal and under the colorful, amusing and provocative surface hides a profoundly humane, sincere and serious form of contemplation.

Until Aug. 2
Zachêta National Gallery of Art
3 Ma³achowskiego St.
www.zacheta.art.pl
www.otwartazacheta.pl
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