Archiving the Creative Phantom: Ester Krumbachová's Personal Estate



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description In contemporary vocabulary, Ester Krumbachová was a true hyphenate. Starting within Czechoslovak cinematic structures in the early 1960s as a costume designer, she spent the decade working as a production designer, screenwriter and/or dramaturg on celebrated titles such as Diamonds of the Night (1964), Daisies (1966) and The Party and the Guests (1966); finally in the 1970 she directed one film (Killing the Devil) herself. When working on individual projects, she moved freely between these creative positions, resulting in one of the most elusive career in the 1960s. Her personal estate, acquired six years ago, consists of various materials – drawings, sketches, clothing items, notes and drafts, personal and professional letters and assorted ephemera. This collection, which is in stark contrast to the notion of archive as performative practice and labor. Instead, these heterogenous materials allow for aesthetic and artistic reclaims of her work together with at least partial reconstruction of various strands of her work. Therefore the second part of the presentation will introduce the possibilities for analyzing Ester Krumbachová as a costume designer. Being not only a visual artist but a gifted writer as well we can trace the evolution of her ideas in both forms: in her co-authored screenplays, sketches, aesthetic principles and preferences as well as her own recollections of her own work written in the 1990s. This presentation thus aims for introducing a rather different take on the Czechoslovak film miracle, through the lens of a diverse personal estate and through a perspective of an under-researched and rather invisible profession.
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