BIELA NOC Bratislava 27. — 29. september

DOT Gallery / Rudolf Fila - Imagológia II. / SK

Lazaretská 13
Duration of the exhibition: September 20 – October 28, 2018 Curators of the exhibition: Peter Michalovič and Martin Kaňuch The essential intention of Fila’s artistic dialogue is the assumption that may not be explicitly expressed but it sure keeps being confirmed through work: paintings are mainly born out of other paintings. A motive taken from a painting by another artist can be varied and developed in surprising ways. Variation is one of a few significant ways of showing what is conventionally referred to as individual style, authorial signature, painter’s autograph, authorial idiolect or “brushature“. Each of the labels is approximate, none of them can absolutely reliably express the meaning of das individuelle Allgemeine, the individual generality. Many of the great masters would lead a dialogue with their predecessors and teachers and by means of that, they would realize where the mystery of their art lies. At the same time, they realized in what ways they can differ from them, what principles their own work should follow. Fila would often declare that the meta (the art of the history of art) had always been interesting to him, he would perceive it as empowerment, a path of topical connection with regard to the diversity of periods, places or categories of artistic expression. According to Fila, the painter to enter the dialogue should be prepared, curious and well-oriented because only then the dialogue the nature of which is so unstable gets so much closer to the hermeneutical understanding according to which a true dialogue is not led by partners – the dialogue leads them. In such a dialogue, everyone loses something and acquires something at the same time. Fila was fully aware of the coexistence of the lost and found and so he would develop these spiritual and creative interactions with other artists in his whole productive life as an artist as a very unique way of intensive, variously disavowed, (self) critical thinking about history, art and society. What do Fila’s dialogues with fine art look like? Let’s start with what we labelled as analytical. In case of that, the creator focused on commenting individual paintings by means of nothing but means of fine art or cycles created by a single author. Except for the analytical form of dialogue, there is another form in Fila’s work – let’s call it variational. A number of reproductions of a single original are repainted so each and every copy differs from the rest. The original is understood as a virtual painting the repainting of which somehow always chooses a single update. The original represents variety whereas the variety cannot be understood as a summary of individual variations but, to the contrary, as a subduction whereas at the end of the day, the reproduction and the repainting comprise an entity, although being internally heterogeneous. It is quite difficult to define the third form of a dialogue as it is the most variable one. Let’s take a landscape painting, still life, a portrait, an act, a religious or historical scene, a scene from life or a so- called genre scene. These genres are typical of relatively high stability. Fine art genres and genres of art generally are characteristic of composition processes whereas the identity of the genre is provided by means of transmitting the processes. In genre scenes, painters can paint the very same event accentuating the tragic or the comic. They can portray it in a pathetic or mocking way; there are multiple registers of esthetic finalization, some of which have even been named while others, although seen by the audience, cannot be given a name. Fila enjoyed changing the overall esthetic feeling of the paintings through his repainting. The range of his intervention is rather wide: one time, it is Eros, the creative one, who gets to act – other times, it is Thanatos, the broken one. Or, metaphorically speaking, there can be peaceful Apollo walking so lightly over the surface of the painting, avoiding other figures – at the same time, however, Dionysus can be wildly dancing there. We can see that there are several ways of changing the esthetic finalization of a painting – anyway, all of them can be considered as examples of how to keep the past in the contemporary, how to make it part of the actual, transcending into the future. Interpretations of the forms of Fila’s dialogical relation to art are not strict analyses – rather than that, they represent humble, approximate or convergent descriptions. They do no aim at concluding individual artistic gestures – contrary to that, they rivet the reader’s attention to what is worth noting and what might help understand the meaning of the painting. Each repainting is always motivated by the original while Fila would always understood the original of the repainting as a problem that needs to be tackled through artistic means. Sometimes, he managed to solve the problem for good – other times, he would get back to it unregularly, open it up again and deal with it over and over again. This universe of dialogues reveals an amazing life-time journey of becoming an artist and becoming a scholar capable of cultivating our perspective of the world of art and, perhaps, the world as such, through their artistic rhapsodizing about art.