(Veľká Hradná, 1937 – Bratislava, 2015)

Stano Filko was one of the most significant Slovak and European Neo-Avant-garde artists. Filko’s extremely diverse oeuvre is determined by his “system” based on colours that link to specific dimensions and concepts.

He studied painting at the Bratislava Academy of Arts and Design under professors Desider Milly and Peter Matejka. Rejecting his traditional painting education, Filko overpainted the works created during his studies. During the 1960s and 70s, he made his works within Czechoslovakia’s highly restrictive socialist system. Filko fervently studied philosophy (both Western and Far Eastern), religion, astronomy and metaphysics. He emigrated in 1981, initially to Düsseldorf (Germany) and then to New York (USA) in 1982.

He returned to Bratislava after the fall of the Iron Curtain and set up his studio Snežienková on the Kamzík hill – a “total work of art”, a house in which each room is defined by one colour from his SF System. Filko’s entire creative work – from paintings, sculptures, installations, objects, conceptual art, land art, texts, drawings, happenings, actions, etc. took place within this system, enabling him to look at and review the works over the years continuously. Also, his two clinical deaths (a fall in a quarry in 1945 and electroshock in 1952) are key to his artistic work, acting as a kind of trigger for his inspiration, which developed along with his research and influence on philosophy, cosmology, religion and technological processes.

The SF system links colours to dimensions, sides of the world, chakras and elements of human existence. The fundamental colours are red as a biological sphere (3rd dimension), green as a socio-political space, blue as a cosmological space (4th dimension), white as an ontological space (5th dimension) and indigo/black as an object space. In later years, Filko expanded the System to twelve colours. The chakras were added as an element during his stay in New York (early 1980s): within the 3rd dimension are red (1st chakra, earth/east), orange (2nd, fire/south), yellow (3rd air/west), green (4th, water/north), blue (5th, cosmos) and black/indigo (6th, ego); within the 4th dimension is purple (7th, altruism), pink (8th, faith) and silver (9th, transcendence); the 5th dimension belongs to gold (10th, singularity), white (11th, essence) and transparent (12th, entity).

In 1965, with artist Alex Mlynárčik and art historian Zita Kostrová, he proclaimed the Happsoc manifesto. During the May Day celebrations and the following days (Bratislava, May 2-8, 1965), Filko held an action Happsoc I in which he drew the audience, using her as a ready-made Marcel Duchamp style, “from the course of her daily life” towards a new perception of the reality of everyday life. Every day was seen as a new realization of the action. At the end of the year, Happsoc II was set up (associated with the period between Christmas and New Year), and Happsoc III, 1966, was a universal action in Czechoslovakia. Filko achieved his interest in space travel within the blue dimension and works such as Happsoc IV, 1968, which calls for physical and mental space travel. The series of works Monument of the Twentieth Century is associated with it, showing rockets over photographs of cities and scenes from everyday life, almost reminiscent of double-exposure photographs.

The series of photographs entitled Transcendency, 1978 – 1979, includes the evolution of the theoretical and practical concept of White Space in White Space, 1973 – 1974, which he developed with Miloš Laky and Ján Zavarský. In Transcendency, Filko intervened in black-and-white or gold-toned photographs by cutting out the heads of persons in the shape of a circle or square or covering them, painting them with white tempera.