Tichy is truly one of the great ‘finds’ of an unknown artist who worked on the outside edges of the art world. Following the communist takeover Tichy spent some eight years in prison camps and jails for no particular reason other than he was ‘different’ and was considered subversive. Upon his release in the early 70’s, Tichy wandered his small town in rags, pursuing his obsession as an artist with the female form by photographing in the streets, shops and parks with cameras he made from tin cans, children’s spectacle lenses and other junk he found on the street. He would return home each day to make prints on equally primitive equipment, making only one print from the negatives he selected. He stole intimate glimpses of his subjects through windows and the fences of swimming pools as well as in the streets, sometimes finding himself in trouble with the police. He would often draw intricately on each print in pencil embellishing the images with his lines or reworking them in other ways, Tichy would also sometimes include a card frame around the prints and decorate those too. The work that might to the casual viewer, simply appear to be intrusive voyeurism, takes on a melancholic and poetic quality. They are exquisitely produced small objects of obsession, which have no equal. He produced work – not for others, but solely for himself without any regard for exhibiting or selling the work to others. Tichy’s pictures were only known to a few until last July, where he won the ‘ New Discovery Award’ at Arles. An exhibition of his work was also shown at the Kunsthaus Zürich in September 2005, and was one of the most curious and perhaps controversial photographic events of 2005. Each print is unique.
Tichy has said, “First of all, you have to have a bad camera”, and, “If you want to be famous, you must do something more badly than anybody in the entire world.”
Miroslav Tichý (November 20, 1926 – April 12, 2011) was a photographer who from the 1960s until 1985 took thousands of surreptitious pictures of women in his hometown of Kyjov in the Czech Republic, using homemade cameras constructed of cardboard tubes, tin cans and other at-hand materials. Most of his subjects were unaware that they were being photographed.
Released in 2004, ‘Tarzan Retired’ is a short documentary on the life and work of Miroslav Tichýt
“Photography is painting with light! The blurs, the spots, those are errors! But the errors are part of it, they give it poetry and turn it into painting. And for that you need as bad a camera as possible! If you want to be famous, you have to do whatever you’re doing worse than anyone else in the whole world.”
” Women are just a motif to me. The figure – standing, bending, or sitting. The movement, walking. Nothing else Interests me. The erotic is just a dream anyway. The world is only an illusion, our illusion. ” – Miroslav Tichy
Miroslav Tichy website: http://www.tichyfotograf.cz/