Born May 11, 1958, in Białystok; lives and works in Warsaw.
After graduating from the State Visual Arts School in Suprasl, Filonik went on to study sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw between 1980 and 1985. He obtained his diploma from the studio of Professor Jan Kucz.
Towards the end of 1985, Filonik and his classmates from the academy, Mirosław Bałka and Marek Kijewski, formed a group (which they referred to according to their own terminology as a "consciousness") called Neue Bieriemiennost', a name which they wrote in a combination of Gothic script and Cyrillic. The group debuted on 8 March, 1986, and continued to work under its original name until the beginning of 1987. After this time, the three artists continued to work together through the spring of 1989, however, they did so under the new name of "Keine Neue Bieriemiennost". As members of the group, the three artists created works that were similar to each other in character and seemed to fit within the category known as "post-painting sculpture." Their figures, objects and mini-installations constituted elements within much larger, jointly created arrangements to which the smaller pieces brought narrative, humour, and an abundance of colours and details. These works were generally made of perishable materials like papier-mâché, plastic, and fabric, or were ready-made objects. Their arrangements were supplemented with fire and water, smoke and light. Some pieces were capable of movement, as was the case with Filonik's "revolving" sculpture titled Honoloulou Baboon (1986). "Neue Bieriemiennost's" appearances had an action art quality about them, with sound and movement contributing significantly to their mysterious, magical mood.
When the group disbanded, its members changed their styles and the metaphors they employed. In the middle of 1989, Filonik began using fluorescent lamps in his works, their light becoming the basic building block of his art. The artist arranges these lamps into simple signs: crosses formed by crossing two lamps, crosses outlined in fluorescent light, spatial crosses, zigzagging lines, rows of multiplied ideograms. When installed in dark galleries or, as with his outdoor installations, in the darkness of night, the cold, neon light that emanates from these identical modular elements constitutes a suggestive statement. In the artist's opinion, this light comes to us from another, invisible reality, and it is the role and task of the author to render its message legible. His view is drawn from elements of Hindu philosophy and Far Eastern variations of Buddhism, which the artist has studied and subjected to a synthesis.
In 1989-1990 Filonik created three installations of his spatial Krzyż / Cross (in Zielona Góra, Hamburg and Kotka). The most memorable if his works in this vein remain those created using rhythmically regularized signs of light: Day Light (1990, on the Art Hotel in Łódź), Bez tytułu / Untitled (1994, on Silo Island in Gdańsk), Blue Light System (1995, on a university building in Białystok), and an installation on Królikarnia Palace in Warsaw (1996), in which he repeated the outline of the building, intentionally shifting it to the side of the actual building's outline.
Following a period of decreased activity, the artist made himself known to the public once more with the installations Yama (2001, courtyard of Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw) and, more recently, Daylight System (2002, on the façade of the Bielska Gallery in Bielsko-Biała). Since the year 2000, the second of the mentioned titles, which is in fact the name of a specific type of light bulb, is the only title to have appeared on Filonik's subsequent projects. In this way, the artist has sought to strip his works of all literary and objective references. They are to remain communiqués from a supernatural world that penetrate straight into human consciousness through the chaos of contemporary times.
In 2002 the Daylight System exhibition was organized in Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art. A big light installation of the same title (200 lamps occupying more than 40 square metres), a video installation entitled Freiburg 1994 and a film screening were all presented during the exhibition. Daylight System was realized in Łaźnia as an artistic interpretation of the space and architecture of the building on Jaskółcza Street. In 2008 the artist took part in a collective exhibit called Republika bananowa. Ekspresja lat 80 / The Banana Republic: Expression of the ‘80s (title translated by the editor). In 2012 Mirosław Filonik was engaged in CSW Łaźnia's Dotyk Sztuki (Art’s Touch) educational project. The artist conducted a workshop called My Square, during which the participants had the chance to design, create, and domesticate their own individualized space.
In 2010, Filonik prepared the OK installation for the 10th anniversary of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. It was constructed of a system of fluorescent lights on the courtyard of Pałacyk Cukrowników. The rays of light referenced perspective drawings known from renaissance paintings, changing the perception of the building and its surroundings and making passers-by focus on the projection hidden inside the building.
- 1986 - "Ekspresja lat 80-tych / Expression of the 1980s", Office of Art Exhibitions (BWA), Sopot
- 1987 - "Co słychać / What's Up", Old Norblin Factory, Warsaw
- 1988 - "Rzeźba w ogrodzie / Sculpture in the Garden", Association of Polish Architects (SARP), Warsaw
- 1989 - III Biennale Sztuki Nowej / 3rd Biennial of New Art, Zielona Gora
- 1990 - "Radar", International Art Exhibition, Kotka (Finland)
- 1991 - Kunst, Europa, Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn
- 1994 "Projekt Wyspa  / Project Island ", International Multimedia Workshops, Gdańsk
- 2002 - Daylight System", Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdańsk
- 2005 - ASP3 Collection on Art Poznań 2005
- 2008 - Republika bananowa. Ekspresja lat 80. / Banana Republic. Expression of the ‘80s, Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdańsk
- 2010 - OK installation celebrating the 10th anniversary of Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Warsaw; Mógłbym żyć w Afryce / I could live in Africa, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw
All titles translated by the editor.
Author: Maryla Sitkowska, Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, January 2003, updated May 2015, translated October 2015.