Výtvarné umění Výtvarné umění

Vytvarne umeni, the magazine for contemporary art
2-3/1993, page 59 - 62

Ludvik Hlavacek

The work of many generations of artists was influenced by communist power. Creation was either directed or restricted by subordination to power or the struggle against it.

Filip Turek was born on 5th January, 1968. He studied art history in Brno for one year, and in 1987 he started to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. For him, the communist education which he experienced there, seemed to be a comical curiosity rather than a pressure which could cause a defensive reaction.

I believe that great ideas and moral attitudes adversely affect art. Nevertheless, I feel amazed when I do not find them in artistic creation. Turek is a free artist in a free country. His starting points are equal with those of western artists. He needed only a little more informations and autopsy and one journey to the west to be equal to them.

This happened in Munich in 1992 where he exhibited his work, For Praying, at the exhibition Sirup. This work consisted of five rows of church benches, the sides of which were given the form of the sides of a child’s rocking-chair in the shape of a rooster. The precise articulation and clarity of the content, the lucidity of the language, the dimension of dignity and, particularly, the absence of ‘christening‘ content in any statement about his own personality and problems of existence, autenticity or identity, place this work in the sphere of world art. It speaks the language of New York galleries.

In 1989 Turek abndoned painting and started to make installations using discarded objects. In his own words, this turning point represented a significant liberation, a happy purification of expression and the elimination of unclean and dishonest attitudes and reflections.

What Turek means by the ’unclean‘ attitude is the process of creating the work; the artist’s ability. He does not reject the medial character as conceptual artists of the 60s and 70s did. Rather, he rejects the fact that the process of the artistic arrangement of the material, or the process of the artistic structure of the painting, provides some evidence about a certain prominent immediate way of expressing something internal and personal; something which cannot be named but but claims to have a higher value of existence.

The work with discarded objects releases him from stumbling in the darkness of his own inner life. The process of creation becomes, to a large extent, an impersonal manipulation.

Such an artistic programme is a challenge, especially in a country where the admiration of personality has accompanied many historic failures; where one group of politicians recently threw away their historical chance by loadly promoting the personalization of public life and where the other group is silently converting cold bureaucratic mechanism into warm relations of personal mafia-like servility.

Translation by Pavla Niklova and April Retter

© Filip Turek 1999