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About Stano Filko

DSQ 4.D Bomb, 1985 – 95

Paper, print, pen
29,7 × 42cm

Courtesy The Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava

Stanislav Stano” Filko (b. 1935 Veľká Hradná , †2015 Bratislava) studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design Bratislava under Dezider Milly and Peter Matejka from 1956 to 1959. In 1981 he emigrated and then lived and worked initially in Germany (Düsseldorf) and from 1982 in the USA (New York). He returned to Bratislava in 1990.

Stano Filko’s artistic work began in Czechoslovakia (today: Slovakia) in the 1960s, at a time when artistic freedom was severely restricted. While the real-socialist régime established its one-sided view of the world, Filko is known for his attempts to depict the entire world as outer and inner reality in his art. The artist created a future-looking oeuvre that ignored traditional categories, and which is fascinating for its ambitious conceptual approach and production. This fascination manifests itself through the artist’s currently increasing international recognition.

Filko is an important representative of the central European neo-avant-gardes, whose diverse approaches to art are particularly relevant for young artists today. He is known for his untiring productivity, and he simultaneously developed his art in different directions. According to his own count, he produced up to 10,000 works as paintings, sculptures, installations, conceptual and text art, drawings, happenings, and action art. Filko is also noted for his formulation of a theoretical system that posits his work as the expression of a transcendental, metaphysical, and planetary” worldview. His System SF made it possible for him to continually reflect upon his entire oeuvre and its relationship to the world, and to almost manically keep developing his work.

In the light of this exuberant and boundless oeuvre, this exhibition offers an alternative narrative covering the period from the 1960s to the present day. Filko’s career and life were shaped and also disturbed by many key events and influences from the second half of the twentieth century, as can be seen in many different aspects. There are continuities from Bratislava to his flight to the West, his time in Düsseldorf, his documenta participation, his role as a marginal figure in the New York art scene in the 1980s, the experience of New Age and hippie culture, and his return to Bratislava after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but there are also just as many ruptures and changes. This Stano Filko retrospective invites us to again consider utopias and avenues that transcend our everyday lives in our so rational present.

Works by Stano Filko have been shown in renowned institutions, including the Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava; Kunstmuseum Basel; Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz; Zacheta – National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; National Museum, Kraków; Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples; ZKM Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Karlsruhe; Ludwig Múzeum, Budapest; Garage Project Space, Moscow; New Museum, New York; P.S.1, New York; MACBA, Barcelona; Centre Pompidou, Paris; mumok, Vienna; Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo; státna galléria (State Gallery), Banská Bystrica; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris; Moravská galerie, Brno; at the 11th Biennale de Lyon, the Prague Biennale 3, the 51st Biennale di Venezia, Documenta 7 in Kassel, and EXPO 1970 in Osaka. With Emanuel Layr Gallery his works have been widely presented including at Frieze Art Fair London, FIAC Paris, and Art Basel.