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Steve Schapiro, Martin Luther King Jr. (with Flag), Selma March, 1965 © Steve Schapiro & Fahey/Klein Gallery
Steve Schapiro, Martin Luther King Jr. (with Flag), Selma March, 1965 © Steve Schapiro & Fahey/Klein Gallery

We received this text about Miroslav Tichý written by the galerist Pascal Polar, from Brussels. We decided to publish it.

I first discovered the artist Miroslav Tichý in 2008, during an exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. 

Having never read anything about his work, I was drawn to his 2008 photographs, dominated by a feminine presence, damaged and out of focus. I remember the pleasure I felt, even as I perceived their “defects.” and the coherence of the artist’s universe.Invaded by powerful technology in our world we are now used to the vision ,the consuming of perfect products studied calibrated and conformed.  Even in the realm of thought, criticism and protest are often revealed to be nothing more than the image of the product in question. We feel as though we’re floating in a sea of perfect products. The photographs of Tichý seemed like the perfect response to our world, thanks in part to his experience with the idyllic communism of the 1960s through the ‘80s. Tichý had transformed himself into the anti-“Man of Marble” polished by the slogans claiming progress and “realism” whicd were the only ways to give substance to the state and the individual. The artist relied on a faulty, handmade camera, doing things, “worse than anyone else in the world,” informed by drawing and painting, which he gave up in the 1950s. The apparent “chaos” I observed in the exhibition was organized. 

Tichý had no desire to exhibit any part of his artwork.Made for himself with method,determination and above all with  systematization His life is superimposed upon the daily life of his town, the shutter release, the resulting vision revealed. The “finished” product, the printed photograph, no longer interests him, hence the abuse to which he subjects his work. Only its production matters, while its “capitalization” is denied. There’s a controlled wandering behind the fake cameras (they were so incredible that people thought they were toys or the inventions of a madman), behind the dirty and neglected appearance, within society. While some take picures of, parades, factories, ceremonies and sporting events, Tichý shoots, in a village of 10,000 people, the women, girls sitting at a pool, women’s crossed legs on a bench or an outdoor café. “Two or three rolls a day, 100 photographs a day.”

Read the full article on the French version of L’Oeil.

Pascal Polar

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Miroslav Tichy

This last master of the 20th century photography was only discovered some 6 years ago and left a radical and unorthodox body of photography focussed on the female figure. After studying at the Academy of Arts in Prague, Miroslav Tichý...