Legendary Slovak Artist Stano Filko Dies at 78

Filko participated in Documenta 7 and in the 51st Venice Biennale.

Filko was celebrated as one of the most significant artists of the 1960s. Photo: nadaciatatrabanky.sk

The Slovak conceptual artist and painter Stanislav “Stano” Filko died last Friday. He was 78 years old.

In a statement, the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava called Filko “one of the most significant international contemporary artists,” stressing how his broad oeuvre reflected all the major contemporary trends, including Pop Art, Neo-realism, Fluxus, and Conceptual art.

In its obituary, the German publication Art Magazin said Filko belonged to “the great generation of European Neo-Avantgarde artists that shaped the visual arts in the 1960s.”

Stano Filko Series of objects (1937-1997) at the Lyon Biennale. Photo: http://universes-in-universe.org

Stano Filko, Series of objects (1937-1997) at the Lyon Biennale.
Photo: http://universes-in-universe.org

Filko studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava and attracted attention in the 1960s with a series of international exhibitions, including shows in Cologne and Paris in 1968. According to Hospodářské Novinythe artist was one of the few Czech and Slovak artists invited to participate in Documenta 7 in Kassel, in 1982.

In 1981, he emigrated from communist Czechoslovakia to Germany. He also lived in Canada and the US before returning to Bratislava in 1990.

In 2005, Filko exhibited at the Czech and Slovak pavilion at the Venice Biennale, with Ján Mančuška and Boris Ondreička.

Stano Filko Universal Environment (1966–1967) Photo: sng.sk

Stano Filko Universal Environment (1966–1967)
Photo: sng.sk

In an essay published in 2011 at e-flux Journal, the critic Jan Verwoert wrote:

Filko’s work […] challenges us to grasp how the specific use of mundane materials and signs coexists with techniques of claiming totality within one practice, and how that practice acquires its critical edge (and power to sustain itself in the face of political oppression) by consummating the marriage of metaphysics and pragmatism.

Filko’s work is currently on view in Budapest, Hungary, as part of a Pop Art survey at the Ludwig Museum. His last major solo exhibition, which ended in August, was presented at the Zacheta Gallery in Warsaw, Poland, in cooperation with the Slovak National Gallery.


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