He constructed his own model of vision with cameras that manufactured himself. Taking refuge in a cabin stocked with a few books of optics, philosophy and art, a particular world was built not by the naivete of believing to fulfill his dreams but by the freedom to keep dreaming. After studying fine arts in Prague during the early years of the Communist regime, Miroslav Tichý opted for an outsider life in his hometown, Kyjov life.
Already at advanced age was discovered by Roman Buxbaum, author of the documentary Tarzan retired in which Tichý lucidly expounds his understanding of photography and life, filtered through his readings of Schopenhauer.
As a Czech Diogenes, speaks with spontaneous aphorisms arising from his own hermit experience. I don’t exist, I am a tool of perception (…) We only see appearances, reflexes. Everything is perception (…) Things happen so fast that you can’t see; you need a bad camera to see (…) Women are the most important thing in my art, yes. But what is art? Art is an idea. The World as Will and Representation.
Schopenhauer saw us drowning in a flood of desires whose dissatisfaction generates new desires and voluptuousness in an endless vicious circle. He believed that art and asceticism could liberate ourselves: in aesthetic contemplation the desire is quiten.
With cameras that made collecting matchboxes, glass, cardboard tubes… Tichý took daily hundreds of photos of passersby who called his attention, especially girls, sitting on a bench, basking in the public swimming pool, smooching in the park … Furtive and medium shot or close frames enhancing the fragment: crossed legs, buttocks in bikini, bare backs … Countless snapshots then amplified and mounted on recycled paper.
Failures of developing, stains, rips, lines with which silhouetted details and the hazy patina because of technical deficiency probably envisioned for him that veil of Maya that Schopenhauer urged to cross. But Tichý doesn’t seconded the German idealist to the point of believing to access a true and mystical vision that the veil of appearances hides us. It is the acceptance of the veil which stimulates creation. Art is fantasy, a dream. When I take photos I do not think about anything. It is only a game.
Miroslav Tichý o la celebración del proceso fotográfico,
Museo del Romanticismo, Madrid, until 28/08/2016, curated by Pía Ogea