Recent Acquisitions: Miroslav Tichy

Perhaps one of the least understood photographers of the twentieth century, Miroslav Tichy is known for his voyeuristic depictions of his female subjects. ICP organized an exhibition and catalogue of his work and recently acquired two of his photographs, one of a woman’s crossed legs and another of a woman in a white dress peering into an open door.

Not many other photographers have been able to achieve Tichy’s  gritty quality. Tichy constructed his own camera out of plastic drain pipes and paper tubes, used a child’s telescope as a focus, sanded down his lenses with cigarette ash, and sealed the pieces of the device together with asphalt from the road. To save money he would sometimes buy 60mm film and cut it into two strips. His camera was so fake looking that his female subjects must have assumed what he had in his hand was a toy. Thus, Tichy was able to achieve the most intimate and candid approach in photographing his subjects.

Miroslav Tichy, Untitled, n.d.

Miroslav Tichy, Untitled, n.d.

These two photographs are characteristic of Tichy’s work. Although woman’s legs are a repetitive motif in his works, very few of Tichy’s negatives are printed more than once, thereby making all of his prints  unique. In the second photograph of the woman in a white dress, you can detect a fingerprint in the upper left hand corner, also seen in the lower left hand corner of the photo of the woman’s legs, evidence of Tichy’s uncommon development process; he never used tongs, opting for his hands instead.

It’s true—in viewing Tichy’s work it would  be easy to write him off as a crazed and female-obsessed man. However, Tichy’s acquaintance Roman Buxbaum once asked him about his relationship with the female and eroticism. Tichy’s response was:

Women are just a motif to me. The figure-standing, bending, or sitting. The movement, walking. Nothing else interests me. I didn’t run wild with women. Even when I see a woman I like and perhaps I could have tried to make contact—I realize I’m not actually interested…The erotic is just a dream anyway. The world is only an illusion, our illusion.

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One Response to Recent Acquisitions: Miroslav Tichy

  1. Adi Hoesle says:

    Roman Buxbaum is not the acquintance of Mr. Tichy.

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