07 Nov 2018
Ester Krumbachová was a key figure in Czech New Wave cinema in the 1960s. She contributed significantly to films such as The Party and the Guests, Daisies, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, Witchhammer, and The Murder of Mr. Devil, as a costume designer, stage designer, scriptwriter, author and director.
After the 1968 Prague Spring and the subsequent invasion of Warsaw Pact forces, Krumbachová was one of many Czech artists effectively silenced and non-officially banned from Barrandov Film Studios until 1989. Occasionally finding work in film, sometimes under a friend’s name, she earned money from making amulets. Working with modelling clay and her kitchen oven, she created raw designs that combined many materials in each unique necklace. The pieces demonstrate her interest in alchemy, the esoteric, and the transmutation of materials, and relate back to her innovative concepts in costume and set design.
In 1994, she published The First Book of Ester, a collection of ‘intentionally unsent letters or letters forgotten unintentionally’ punctuated by a series of dark fairytales. The archive is full of unsent letters, many torn into small fragments and stored in plastic bags. It seems likely that she made a selection from this collection for the book but much work remains to be done on them and on her communication/non-communication with the intended recipients of the letters. Likewise her fairy tales – often comic, twisted and biting – remain unknown to English speaking audiences and relatively unknown even in her own home country.
Krumbachová has returned to public consciousness recently as her papers, artwork, photography and clothes were donated to create an archive, which is overseen by curators Edith Jeřábková and Zuzana Blochová. The archive is beginning to shed light on Krumbachová’s time, with many topics – agency, magic, materialism, gender, feminism, the interconnected nature of reality, and sensory forms of knowledge – remaining relevant today.
This exhibition is based on the only film directed by Krumbachová, The Murder of Mr. Devil, and displays key elements of her archive within a much broader context as artists ACID PRAWN (Sian Dorrer), Marek Meduna, Sally Hackett and France-Lise McGurn interact directly with, and respond to, her work. An entangled collaboration between Are, Dorrer and Meduna blurs the distinction between artworks, exhibition architecture and design in two of CCA’s gallery spaces, with Glasgow curators Panel curating the third space. A Weakness for Raisins will be accompanied by a series of screenings. A book launch for Green Fox Street by Jan Kolsky will accompany the exhibition preview on Friday 7 December.
Curated by Are Prague and CCA Glasgow with guest curators Panel. Exhibition partners include National Film Archive, Prague; Czech Film Fund; Czech Centre London; The Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague; the Barrandov Studio; BIONAUT; Czech Television; DW Agency, Prague; Glasgow Film Theatre; MAP Magazine; and Second Run.
Supported by Creative Scotland, Glasgow City Council, the Ministry of Culture Czech Republic, Prague City Hall, and the Czech Centre London. With special thanks to Ivo Paik, Anja Kirschner, Jarmila Košnářová, Petr Václav, and Václav Šeda – ADES.
A Weakness for Raisins
Films and Archive of Ester Krumbachová
Sat 8 December – Sun 27 January 2019
Closed 24 Dec – 6 January inclusive
Tue-Sat: 11am-6pm // Sun: 12noon-6pm // Preview: Friday 7 Dec, 7pm-9pm // Free
Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JD
Double Film Screenings:
Daisies & The Ear
Tue 11 Dec, CCA Cinema, Free but ticketed / 15+
Direction Věra Chytilová, screenplay Ester Krumbachová and Věra Chytilová, production design Ester Krumbachová and Jaroslav Kučera, costume design Ester Krumbachová.
CSR, 1966, 73 min
The Ear, 7.20pm
Direction Karel Kachyňa, production and costume design Ester Krumbachová.
CSR, 1970, 94 min
Marian & Valerie and her Week of Wonders
Tue 18 Dec, CCA Cinema, Free but ticketed / 15+
Direction Petr Václav, production and costume design Ester Krumbachová and Ondřej Nekvasil, dramaturgy Ester Krumbachová and Hana Jemelíková. CZ – FR, 1996, 109 min
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, 7.50pm
Direction Jaromil Jireš, screenplay Ester Krumbachová and Jaromil Jireš, production and costume design Ester Krumbachová. CSR, 1970, 73 min
Long Live the Republic! & All My Good Countrymen
Wed 9 Jan, CCA Cinema, Free but ticketed / 15+
Long Live the Republic!, 6pm
Direction Karel Kachyňa, costume design Ester Krumbachová and Olga Dimitrovová.
CSR, 1965, 132 min
All My Good Countrymen, 8.15pm
Direction Vojtěch Jasný, production and costume design Ester Krumbachová.
CSR, 1968, 115 min
Coach to Vienna & Fruit of Paradise
Wed 16 Jan, CCA Cinema, Free but ticketed / 15+
Coach to Vienna, 6pm
Direction Karel Kachyňa, costume design Ester Krumbachová. CSR, 1966, 76 min
Fruit of Paradise, 7.20pm
Direction Věra Chytilová, screenplay Ester Krumbachová and Věra Chytilová, story, production and costume design Ester Krumbachová.
CSR, 1969, 96 min
The Murder of Mr Devil. & Diamonds of the Night
Sat 26 Jan, CCA Cinema, Free but ticketed / 15+
The Murder of Mr. Devil, 2pm
Direction, story, production and costume design, text of the song Yeti Ester Krumbachová, screenplay Ester Krumbachová and Jan Němec. CSR, 1970, 72 min
Diamonds of the Night, 3.15pm
Direction Jan Němec, costume design Ester Krumbachová. CSR, 1964, 67 mins
The Party and the Guests & Witchhammer
Sun 27 Jan, CCA Cinema, Free but ticketed / 15+
The Party and the Guests, 2pm
Direction Jan Němec, screenplay Ester Krumbachová and Jan Němec, story, production and costume design Ester Krumbachová. CSR, 1966, 68 min.
Direction Otakar Vávra, screenplay Ester Krumbachová and Otakar Vávra, production design and text of the military song Flandern in Not Ester Krumbachová. CSR, 1969, 103 min.
All films screened with English subtitles.