On October 7th in the intimate setting of the Half Gallery, I began browsing photographs hanging on the walls with ignorance of the artist's backstory. The installation of photographs and drawings, many which hadn't been showed in the US before, carried a distinct quality of mysticism and intrigue. Without knowing any details behind the photographs, I was drawn to them. After learning the artist's story, my interest only grew.
The photographer's name is Miroslav Tichý. The Czechoslovakian's work was only discovered 6 years ago, and has since grown in popularity, even more so after his death in 2010, continuing to be re-contextualized. There's a timeless quality to these black and white images. Tichý focused on the female form – within the frames are ghost-like images of women; sometimes just their legs, or torso, half naked, out of focus, all cultivated with a dark, whimsical aura – and, in a way, he reinvents the standard approach to photography. He studied painting in Prague in the 50's before moving into a more isolated setting of Kygov, Czech Republic, under a communist rule. His photos of the blurred female bodies in leisurely activity are mounted on cardboard, all containing a similar rustic feel. What makes them truly unique is how Tichý, using pencil, drew on the prints, adding to the composition and disregarding conventional methods of photography.
Many aspects of Tichý's images at the Half Gallery are special and refreshingly original. But they almost can't compare with his makeshift, self-built cameras, composed of cardboard paper, tin cans, and other various materials of the like. The camera's striking appearance and organic, authentic quality match the personality and work of Tichý, which I believe will continue to gain clout in the art world because it is unpretentious, passion-driven artwork.
Check it out at the Half Gallery from October 7th until November 2nd 2013.
Review by Carlos J Fonts