CCA Glasgow: A Weakness for Raisins, Film and Archive of Ester Krumbachová

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The Center for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow is currently presenting a highly influential and moving display of the innovative artist Ester Krumbachová (1923-1996). Ester was a very influential figure in the development of the Czech New Wave cinematic movement (for instance known for her contribution to “Valerie and Her Week of Wonders”). The displayed archive is just beginning to unravel the importance and substantial symbolic meaning of the artist’s work, which wouldn’t have been possible without the curators Edith Jerábková and Zuzana Blochová.

The exhibition contextualizes the artist’s records of the ’60s into our contemporary reality by appealing to the transcendent and the essence of femininity. The multifaceted exhibition was carefully arranged and perfectly displayed so as to capture the forceful presence of the artist and her work, as well as being playfully interactive through short letters to the artist and other materials. The CCA is an elegantly open and flowing space, which was ideally utilized to host such an intriguing and thought-provoking archive.


The exhibition is centered on the film “The Murder of Mr. Devil”, directed by Ester, placing all the archive material in an interconnected framework of meanings, symbols, and works of art, and recordings which characterize Krumbachová’s work as extremely relevant to our own time and perhaps prescient for hers. The amulets which she created (displayed on the walls in room 3) are made of modeling clay and exemplify an original approach to set and costume design, which conveys the idea of transformation, alchemical allure, and the esoteric. In fact, the entirety of room 3 is striking in its complete encapsulation of a certain feeling of raw proximity to the soul, while still remaining openly flowing and vibrant. The display features amulets, costume design, drawings, paintings, polaroids, production stills, prints, photographs, letters, song lyrics, and many others.

The works “Marie on the Menu” and “One sleeve shorter than the other” are France-Lise McGurn’s artistic response to Krumbachová’s influence, and one of a number of displayed works related to Ester. Constructed from oil, spray, marker, and acrylic, these two pieces correlate to the autonomous vision of femininity in Ester’s work, existing in a delicate state of artistic abandon.

The exhibtion will be on display until the 27th of January, 2019.

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