Tuesday, April 17, 2007

re Miroslav Tichy

Tichy's images (what little I have seen) remind me somewhat of Garry Winogrand's Women Are Beautiful work. The Winogrand images have always seemed rather odd to me, perhaps in their "photographic" qualities (format, focus, depth-of-field, composition, tonality) which is their justification as Important Photography. They seem very machine made, & yet the images are also driven by what seems to be a possessive, acquisitive sex drive, imbued with an ocular puritanism which justifies itself with a kind of visual violence. What is "beautiful" about the women isn't necessarily in the images, but in the inventory of what counts as "woman" & "beautiful": facial shapes, hair color & length, body type, age, skin color (I may be mistaken but I believe all the women in the book are white). There's a creepiness to the images in that they seem so ebulliently stolen, furtive yet flamboyantly on display, ultimately, as Photographs, as trophies.
I can see a similar voyeurism in Tichy's work, but the processes, the cameras, the chemistry, the paper - the processes themselves have a libidinious quality which seems more equitable with whatever scopophilic drives generated the work. The photos seem still wet, as if they were still being made. The photos have a connection to Tichy's body (perhaps, somehow). In this I a reminded of the thoughtographs of Ted Serios, or the pinhole camera images made in Ann Hamilton's mouth. Also, the images seem more grounded, slower. Winogrand is in motion, in flight, perpetually, in his photos, & there is not the slightest hint of any connection other than a quick glance (wham, blam, thank you, m'am). The title of the Winogrand book as well could very well be a barroom boast, or locker room chatter - it's about men in charge. There are Tichy images which if not pornographic, are at least more directly sexual in their situation. The ragged paper, the hand-drawn matts, the stained images - it's all much more openly fetishistic. There is a cult of Image as a hallucination (as opposed to a product which is how I would perceive the economy of Winogrand).

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