When well-known Swiss curator Harald Szeemann was preparing an exhibition for the 2004 biennial in Seville, the name of a completely unknown Czech photographer appeared on the list of participating artists: Miroslav Tichý. Szeemann was fascinated by Tichý’s original and incisive way of looking at the everyday world, as well as the obsession, to the exclusion of all else, with which Tichý focused on women and the female body in all its possible forms. Using primitive cameras that he built himself out of cardboard and simple lenses, Tichý managed to capture fleeting moments of life without any stylization or formal presuppositions. His unfocused, consciously blurred, and in this sense unprofessional photographs show a quality of emotion and subject matter found only in entirely unique and original works of international photography.
In presenting Tichý’s photographs, Szeemann expanded upon the many years of work by Czech-Swiss artist and psychiatrist Roman Buxbaum, who had discovered and purchased the photographic work of his neighbor and close acquaintance from the town of Kyjov, thus saving it from destruction. The exhibition in Seville launched the unexpected international success of Tichý’s photographs, culminating in exhibitions at the Kunsthaus Zürich (2005), the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2008), and the International Center of Photography in New York (2010). The numerous publications and monographs published in recent years in Europe and in America also testify to the widespread interest in Tichý’s work.