Rudolf Fila

A Great Man Has Passed Away – the Artist, Painter, Author and Teacher

… You might miss the term “sensibility” in my writing, the term so dear to you. It might have come from the commandment: You shall not misuse… That’s why I don’t speak about your faith. It truly is easier for me to be silent than to speak about deeply personal matters.
Rudolf Fila, Olomouc 1999
from a letter to his friend M.Š.

Photo: Marek Velček /

In the 1960s Fila was already one of the most distinctive artists active within the Czechoslovak fine arts scene of the time. His manifesto was inspired by abstract surrealism and Art Informel, the principles of which he merged into his own philosophy of painting. In his small scale artworks, the emphasis was based in analysing the medium of painting, the painting process and its semantic layering. The basis of Fila‘s expression was the symbiosis and tension between a spontaneous gesture and a meditative counterpoint, uniquely linking active gesticulation with lyrical abstraction. In his later creative period, philosophical solutions with postmodern attributes emerged in his works, represented by the preference of an eclectic mix of various elements over a singular purity of style, prefering the minautia of sperarate details rather than observing a work as a whole. He worked with quotation, interpretation and a comprehensive analysis of other works of art. Using polemical and ironic gestures, he interfered with other people‘s sketches, series prints and macroscopic enlargements of the human body. In the 1970s and 1980s, Rudolf Fila was a significant figure of the alternative art scene. He also dedicated himself to illustrating books, particularly works of poetry. Apart from his artwork, he also pursued theoretical-critical activities.

Enhanced Pictures  
On enlarged details of girls’ bodies
on a painting as gentle as a wing of a butterfly
on the lovers’ fog
in an exactly balanced proportion he places
a single white line
and another time a massive ejaculation of colours
Thus continuing his passionate discussion
on the meaning of a picture
on the essence of painting …

Rudolf Fila was born on 19th July 1932 in the Moravian town of Příbram. In 1952 he graduated from the School of Applied Arts in Brno, with professor Bohdan Lacina supporting his talent. In the same year he was accepted into professor Ján Mudroch‘s studio at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. After his graduation (in 1960) he worked as a teacher at the School of Applied Arts in Bratislava. In the 30 years of working as a teacher at this school, he educated many outstanding prominent Slovak artists. In 1990 – 1992 he lead the studio of free painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. He habilitated as assistent professor in 1991. A year later, he decided to leave the university service and became an independent artist. Since 1960, he engaged himself in exhibiting activities – exhibiting both individually and collectively – on the Slovak art scene as well as abroad where he became an internationally renowned artist. He lived and worked in Bratislava. Rudolf Fila’s life thread was torn at the age of nearly 83. The 11th of February 2015 was that sad and unexpected day.

Yours faithfully Marta Hučková