Outsider Art Fair
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Miroslav Tichý

Czech, 20th century.
Born 1925, Kyjov, Czech Republic.


Miroslav Tichý, (1925 – 2011) was born in the town of Kyjov in Moravia in the Czech Republic and studied drawing and painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. He had a short-lived career in the late ’40s as an avant-garde painter, but following the Communist takeover in 1948, he returned to Kyjov, where he continued to draw and paint. In the 1960s, Tichy started to neglect his appearance and became increasingly eccentric, a harmless but disturbing figure in an artistically frayed coat held together with wire. He was frequently arrested or institutionalized during these years, and in 1972 the state took away his studio.


Around this time, Tichý began to build cameras from found pieces of optical instruments, lenses from old eyeglasses, Plexiglas scraps polished with toothpaste and ashes, taped and glued cardboard, cans, wooden boxes, bottle tops and rubber bands. With them, he would surreptitiously photograph the women of Kyjov on their daily rounds. He would then use a homemade enlarger to make prints, which he often enhanced with faint pencil marks and set in hand-cut and decorated mounts.


Blurred, light-shot, scuffed, torn, and spattered with bromide stains, these stolen images, made during the ’70s and the ’80s, show women of all ages sunbathing, swimming, and shopping, walking in groups, huddled in conversation, or alone, smoking, sitting, or thinking. Sometimes they are seen from a distance; at other times Tichý zooms in—with a homemade telephoto lens—on a pair of shapely calves, or a matronly backside


While Tichý’s photographs have an undeniable sexual charge, they also resemble surveillance photographs. In fact, as curator Brian Wallis has pointed out, Tichý’s vast archive of images is contemporaneous with that compiled by the Czech secret police. In Tichý’s work, it appears, the voiding of distinctions is complete; watcher and watched, political resistance and erotic fervor are fused in an unclassifiable whole.


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2017, Known/Unknown: Private Obsession and Hidden Desire in Outsider Art, Museum of Sex, New York

2015, System and Vision, David Zwirner Gallery, New York

2013, City of Women, Zephyr, Mannheim, Germany

2013, Homage to Miroslav Tichý, Prague Biennale, Prague, Czech Republic

2012, L’Homme à la Mauvaise Caméra, Pascal Polar Gallery, Brussels, Belgium

2012, The Artist with the Bad Camera, Moscow House of Photography, Moscow, Russia

2011, Miroslav Tichỷ, Retrospettiva, SI Fest, Savignano sul Rubicone, Italy

2011, Miroslav Tichỷ, Braunschweig University of Art, Braunschweig, Germany

2011, Miroslav Tichỷ, Wilkinson Gallery, London, UK

2011, Les formes du vrai / Forms of Truth, City Gallery Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

2010, Miroslav Tichý,  ICP, International Center of Photography, New York, USA

2009, Miroslav Tichý, Jiri Svestka Berlin, Berlin, Germany

2009, Miroslav Tichý,  Galerie Elisbeth & Klaus Thoman, Innsbruck, Austria

2009, Style Options, Dominik Art Projects, Krakow, Poland

2009, Miroslav Tichý,  Kewenig Galerie, Cologne, Germany

2009, Prayers, Dreams and Goddesses,  Galería Jule Kewenig, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

2008, Miroslav Tichý,  Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

2008, Miroslav Tichý,  Galerie Susanne Zander, Cologne, Germany

2008, Miroslav Tichý,  Centre Pompidou, Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris, France

2008, Miroslav Tichý,  Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt/Main, Germany

2008, Miroslav Tichý,  Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York (NY), USA

2007, Miroslav Tichý,  Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

2007, Miroslav Tichý,  Galerie Susanne Zander, Cologne, Germany

2006, Miroslav Tichý,  Presentation House Gallery (PHG), Vancouver, Canada

2006, Miroslav Tichý,  The Brno House of Art - Central Building, Brno, Czech Republic

2006, Miroslav Tichý,  De Hallen, Haarlem, Netherlands

2005, Miroslav Tichý,  Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium

2005, Miroslav Tichý,  Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland

2005, Unique Photographs, David Nolan Gallery, New York, USA


Selected Group Exhibitions


2011, The Tireless Epic, Fieret - Tichý – Heyboer,  The Hague Museum of Photography, Den Haag, Netherlands 

2010, Inaugural Exhibition,  Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich, Switzerland

2010, Ion Barladeanu & Miroslav Tichý,  Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris, France

2009, Contemporary Czech and International Gallery Artists,  Jiri Svestka Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

2009, Sauvagerie domestique, Galerie Edouard-Manet, Genevilliers, France

2009, Outsider, Galerie Klaus Gerrit Friese, Stuttgart, Germany

2009, Archivo, MKGalerie, Berlin, Germany

2009, Archivo, MKGalerie, Rotterdam, Netherlands

2009, Künstler der Galerie,  Galerie Susanne Zander, Cologne, Germany

2009, This Is Not a Fashion Photograph: Selections from the ICP Collection,  International Center of Photography, New York, USA

2008, Financial crisis ...from our stock,  Jiri Svestka Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

2008, 16th Biennale of Sydney, Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, New Zealand

2008, International Triennale of Contemporary Art - Re-Reading the Future, International Triennale of Contemporary Art (ITCA), Prague, Czech Republic

2008, Miroslav Tichý & Julia Margaret Cameron, Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden

2008, L'amour Fou, Marvelli Gallery, New York, USA

2007, Again: serial practices in contemporary art, The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, USA

2007, Blue Chips, Galerie Philipp Konzett, Vienna, Austria

2007, Like Leaves,  Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, USA

2007,  Ketzer & Co. Die Goldene Stadt, Jiri Svestka Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

2006, Artists for Tichý - Tichý for Artists, MMK Museum Moderner Kunst - Stiftung Wörlen, Passau, Germany

2006, 25 years Zeno X, Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium

2006, Soleil Noir, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, Austria

2004, 1 Bienal Internacionál de Arte Contemporaneo de Sevilla, BIACS, Fundación Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain


Public Collections

Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’Art Moderne, Paris, France
Galerie Klatovy/Klenová, Czech Republic
Haus der Photographie Deichtorhallen (F.C. Gundlach Collection), Hamburg, Germany
Kantonales Museum des Kantons Thurgau, Switzerland
La maison rouge, Fondation Antoine de Galbert, Paris, France
Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA
Museum of Modern Art (MMK), Frankfurt, Germany
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Great Britain