© Simon Perathoner

© Simon Perathoner

ŠTEFAN PAPČO

 

*1983, Ružomberok (SK)
Lives and works in Bratislava (SK).

G1
Anorak (from the series Absolute), 2017
Bronze, steel, 320x135x135 cm, ed. 1/3
Courtesy of the artist and ZAHORIAN & VAN ESPEN  

G1
Bonekan (from the series Absolute), 2017
Bronze, steel, 360x130x130 cm, ed. 1/3
Courtesy of the artist and ZAHORIAN & VAN ESPEN
 

A series Absolute presents silent anti-monuments - sculptural versions of the mountaineers’ belongings, fetishizing their presence through the items of typical high mountain clothing which protects the climbers against extreme wind and low temperature. Papčo personalizes as well as mythologizes his protagonists, emphasizing the ethical and corporeal aspects involved in the challenge of a vertical space. The mountains appear as simultaneously a physical/ethical entity, a site of an extreme existential experience, as well as a mythical construct - a phantasmagoria, a desire, a dream, a mental excess. Papčo’s post-romantic take at the solitary gesture of mountains’ climbing transmits an act of learning from the mountains (as well as from the other natural phenomena, such as the sea or oceans), as an act of resistance and collectivity, described by the philosopher Michel Serres as follows: “In the high mountains, my guide taught me the comfortable cold. ‘If you curl up into a ball’, he said, ‘if you defend yourself and get dressed, the enemy will penetrate down to your liver: cold is more invasive than you. No. Present yourself, uncover yourself, go toward it, make it your friend; it’ll respect you. Turn the against into a for.’ Yet without going beyond the lethal limit.
‘Dive into the sea or a river. If you splash about and struggle against the water, it’ll smother you, drown you. No. Turn the outside into an in. Make the water your friend, what animates you, and it’ll carry you, caress you; you won’t ever be able to leave it. A fish. Climb the rock face. If you become frightened against the vertical gravity, it’ll hurl you down, push you into the void; you’ll fall. No. Turn the against into a with. Caress the rock like a mistress, and it’ll help you and offer you holds; light-heartedly, you will climb it. A chamois. Fy in the air, go gliding or windsurfing, delta-wing or kite. A bird.”