Stefan Papco’s sculptural practice is intimately connected to mountaineering, which he has been practicing for many years. He is an experienced climber, and his direct knowledge of climbing as mental and physical discipline, body language, and choreography, constitutes an integral part of his work.
Climbing is not about visual paradigms; it is performative and deeply grounded in the body, movement, and gravity and the sculptural objects Papco creates introduce his stark experience and the vocabulary of mountaineering into art. Entangled with the mountains’ environment and their ecology, Papčo’s practice also revisits the history of alpinism and its ambiguous status within discussion on modernity.
Officially “invented” in 1760, alpinism went hand in hand with the logic of colonisation and conquest of the summits. At the same time, it was embracing an anti-technological stance and engaging into an early promotion of the nature conservation. Štefan Papčo’s work is situated in the latter approach, embracing the ethics of fair play between the body and the Nature. He takes a non-technological and non-mediated view of the human–Nature relationship, based on solidarity rather then domination.