A Weakness for Raisins: Films and Archive of Ester Krumbachová


7 December 2018 – 27 January 2019 

CCA 2, Glasgow 

Dear Ester

Recently we were invited by Are Events (Zuzana Blochová and Edith Jeřábková) in Prague to be guest curators on a show they are preparing for CCA about your life and work.  Zuzana and Edith are currently custodians of your estate (having discovered that nearly all of your belongings were kept in your old apartment by your former boyfriend, for over 20 years, following your death in 1996). As part of a major research project, they are undergoing a process of filtering and analysing it in order to uncover more about your films and your influence.

The exhibition aims to not only introduce your work, which, in its complexity, is becoming fully understandable only today through access to your possessions, but is also about the desires and troubles of working with un-catalogued, un-ordered, primary material, especially of one person.

With artists, Are Events are showing examples from your estate, alongside new works in the main space of CCA, and have invited Panel to make a curatorial contribution in one of the connecting exhibition spaces. We visited Prague at the end of April to begin our research and to begin a conversation with Edith and Zuzana. By spending time with your clothing, your costume and set design, your drawings, your make-up and perfume, your furniture, your props and your many unsent letters, we found ourselves starting from a point of material and contextual uncertainty. We were drawn to the way that you operated freely across the varying roles of designer, scriptwriter, director and collaborator and, sifting through your material life, we began to understand your belongings as an intimate  translation of your commitment to experimental narrative forms, made most visible through your writing, costume and set design. 

Considering your material legacy in relation to key films Daisies (1966) and The Murder of Mr. Devil (1970) with their sleight-of-hand art direction offered as a new kind of opposition to moral codes of femininity, pleasure and desire; the constrained position you endured for much of your professional life and your resulting friendships, networks and perspectives, we became interested in commissioning new works that would draw upon your fascination with the involved dynamics of personal relationships (whether human, feline or spiritual). 

And so, we are presenting an installation that responds to your work and estate by two artists with whom we feel you might have had an affinity: Sally Hackett and France-Lise McGurn. Together, we focused upon a series of pen drawings, found during our visit to Prague, and on costume from the Barrandov Film Studios Costume and Props Collection (a single bikini, worn by Marie I, remains of the Daisies pair). In reply, filtered through pink, yellow and green and set against the backdrop of your biography, references to friendship, power, authorship, alchemy and style play out on double bed-sized paintings, on souvenirs of a dinner party and on a series of shelved ceramic bust-ups.

Catriona and Lucy