Design in the Czech Lands 1900–2000. Institutions of Modern Design)
The publication is the very first systematic evaluation of this sphere in the history of Czech modern art. The book traces design in the Czech lands in a broad perspective, encompassing interior design, functional wares, industrial and graphic design, fashion and textile design, jewellery, industrial photography and the new materials of the 20th century.
The twenty thematic chapters clearly demonstrate how the forms of utilitarian objects and luxury designer products were designed, and the ways life-style and living space transformed over the years. The chapters are accompanied by some 930 photographs of objects from more than one hundred Czech and foreign collections and archives. This rich pictorial material is arranged for “double reading”: both as a logical accompaniment of the texts and as an autonomous commentary.
The publication gives a comprehensive overview of “the century of design” in the Czech lands, of the manifold structure and network of people, associations, production entities and other institutions engaged in design in the past and present, as well as a glimpse into their lives through objects that constitute the cultural memory and identity of our society.
The last chapter of the publication provides the profiles of more than three hundred design institutions and maps their frequently dramatic fates in the 20th century. Among the list of institutions, discussed by the individual authors, particular mention should be made of the art cooperative Artěl, the unique Cubist-style output produced by the Prague Art Workshops and the initiatives of the Czechoslovak Art Association between the two wars. During the country’s four decades under a Communist regime, the development of design was concentrated into research institutes and centres, such as the Institute of Housing and Fashion Design (ÚBOK) and the theory-oriented Institute of Industrial Design (IPD). The publication also treats alternative initiatives that emerged on the margin of interest of the official institutions and Communist-governed industry. The book also devotes attention to the impact of the social transformation after 1989. Fashion Behind the Iron Curtain)
Society, Clothing and People in Czechoslovakia 1948–1989
The lavishly illustrated volume traces the development of fashion in Czechoslovakia from 1948 to 1989 against a political and social background. Some three hundred reproductions, comprising period photographs from magazines, clothing exhibits in the holdings of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague and images by distinguished Czech photographers document the country’s forty-year period marked by the totalitarian Communist regime that had a huge impact on all walks of life, including fashion.
The way people dressed became a part of the ideological struggle and a tool for shaping the individual’s new, subordinate position in society. Restricting individuality was manifested with equal insistence in fashion as in everyday life, and this pressure was felt with various intensity throughout the Communist Party’s forty years of rule. It developed from the harsh stance of the official authorities in the early fifties, followed by the adoption of external forms of life and clothing styles of the Western democratic society from the mid-sixties, all the way to the fall of the totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia in 1989. Alfons Mucha. The Pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Exposition Universelle Paris 1900)
Paviljon Bosne i Hercegovine na Svjetskoj izložbi u Parizu 1900. Rodine
In its first section, the book traces the phenomenon of world expositions in the second half of the 19th century, with a focus on the largest and for a long time the most important world’s fair held in 1900 in Paris. All the other texts are devoted chiefly to the exposition’s Pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which – to a large degree – was also a political manifestation of sorts, as the Austrian Monarchy wished to demonstrate the progress that the previously underdeveloped region of the Balkans had achieved under Vienna’s administration. The pavilion was constructed after the plans of the Czech architect Karel Pánek and most of the interior decoration was the work of Alphonse Mucha, another Czech artist living in Paris. His large canvases, which hung on all four walls of the upper storey, depicted the history of these lands, reflecting their strong influence of various religions and cultures: Paganism, Classical and Christian traditions, and Islam. Contrary to the pavilion as such (as was also the case of the pavilions representing other countries, including their interiors), Mucha’s paintings have survived and are now in the possession of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague. Following their partial restoration, the paintings – whether as a whole, or only some of them, have been shown to the public on various occasions since 1998 at exhibitions held in Prague, Vienna, Montpelier and Munich.
The book was published by UPM in partnership with The Luka Praha Association, under the auspices of the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Czech Republic. DESIGN – PROFILES – KEY FIGURES)
New Edition Series
of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague
and the Arbor Vitae publishing house
There has been a lack of scholarly and popularizing publications devoted to Czech design and decorative art that would discuss contemporary and historical events, and explore traditional and experimental endeavours in the field. Such books are badly needed both by the Czech public and foreign readers interested in Czech design and decorative art. This is perhaps why Czech design has been at the margin of world interest, rather than at its centre.
The Design – Profiles – Key Figures edition series responds to this need, examining key figures in various fields of design, applied photography and fashion of the 20th and 21st centuries. We are convinced that the edition will become a fundamental source for the deeper understanding of the developments and trends in Czech decorative art and design within an international context. The texts will be published in Czech and English language edition.