Aš po Už/horod
A Hundred Years of Entrepreneurial Boom and Fortunes of Businesses of the First Czechoslovak Republic in Dialogue with UMPRUM
Project by Studio of Textile Design UMPRUM
The Textile Design Studio of UMPRUM devoted the entire academic 2017/2018 year to a project dealing with the fortunes of companies and family businesses that stood at the birth of the First Czechoslovak Republic. The central interest of the project expands from the West to the very East of the whole of Czechoslovakia, and for this reason the project was given the distinctive name Aš po Už/horod.
As a result of intensive work, there will be a roadshow in Czech and Slovak towns, big and small. The project's collection is inspired by the research of students; there will be organized exhibitions, discussions, annotated strolls, and a comprehensive Almanac will be christened. This project has become part of the Republic's celebration because of the interest in Czechoslovak history and the fates of individual people.
The project led by Jitka Škopová's own experience may seem like an unusual theme for a studio involved in textile design. “I found out recently that we had factory owners in our family, whose fates were badly affected by misfortune. For long decades, this fact was not mentioned. At first, no one wanted to talk about the past, and after some time the memories were lost completely. It was similar in other family businesses that were hurt by events of World War II and afterwards by the normalization of Czechoslovakia."
A history of Czechoslovak family businesses was never compiled, and until now only Bachelor and Masters degree works have taken the time to engage in it. The fates of Jitka Škopová's ancestors, were kept silent within the family. At the same time, the business of these prosperous companies was tied to work and contacts with prominent architects, artists, and the cultural elite of the time.
Researching the lives of individual families was an intense experience for the students. They themselves had to discover the places where businessmen originally lived and worked. They collaborated with local historians and contacted descendants and relatives who were able to give them the best direct testimony.
Every life story they researched would deserve its own novel. Let us mention, for example, the tragic life story of Dr. Koch, who established a sanatorium in Bratislava. In spite of the fact that he was hiding persecuted Jews during World War II, he was sentenced after the war to life imprisonment and all his assets were forfeited to the state. Thanks to his friend, architect Jurkovič, by the way, also the designer of the sanatorium, Dr. Koch was released after long, difficult efforts. We might also mention the Sochor family, who owned a textile factory in Dvůr Králové nad Labem or the tannery of Skřivan Binkov from Krucemburk, who were also related to the architect Gočár.
Besides the fact that all of these stories of fate were an inspiration for the students' own creations, the stories are all compiled in the almanac, published by UMPRUM. An extensive publication will be christened on the 28th of October, 2018 in Libčice nad Vltavou.
"Thanks to my own experience, but mainly because of this whole project, I figured out the importance of dealing with the past. It is the past that gives the present a greater logic and understanding of context ", concludes the head of the Studio of Textile Design Jitka Škopová, the leader of the project Aš po Už / horod - A Hundred Years of Entrepreneurial Boom and Fortunes of Businesses of the First Czechoslovak Republic in Dialogue with UMPRUM.