March 15, 2011

Miroslav Tichy at Braunschweig University of Art’s gallery

Braunschweig University of Art (HBK Braunschweig)
Miroslav Tichý, “Untitled,”.
Photography/mixed media.
© Miroslav Tichý.
Courtesy Galerie Susanne Zander, Cologne.

Miroslav Tichý himself never cared to be in the limelight, he sought neither to be exhibited nor to be published. It simply did not seem desirable to him. He repeatedly declared that the world was a mere pretense, an illusion, in which we perceive only that what we want to perceive

In the late 1940s, following his training at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts, Tichý started out as a painter and illustrator. However, the totalitarian conditions surrounding him paired with personal experiences meant that he increasingly alienated himself from the official art and cultural scene. Eventually, Tichý withdrew completely from the public eye and one day began to take photographs.

As time went on, he increasingly neglected his appearance, growing a beard, leaving his hair long and matted, his clothes mere rags. Children were mostly afraid of him to start with. They believed that his photographic equipment was fake and that, in reality, he was not a photographer at all. His apartment had the look and feel of a crazy inventor’s workshop. There was no heating, meaning that the winters were damp and cold. There were pictures, illustrations and photographs strewn about the floor, collecting mold. But this was not important to him. Tichý who was born in a small village in Moravia on November 20, 1926 has today grown to be more amicable; he no longer scares curious visitors away with a battleaxe. He stopped taking pictures in the early 1990s. The ball got rolling several years ago when the nephew of an old friend convinced him to hold his first exhibition and Harald Szeemann presented him at the 2004 Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporaneo in Seville. The world has taken an interest in the old “Samurai” ever since.

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