Petr Jurníček

* 1971

  • “All my friends in Beroun asked: ‘Please tell me, what is going on with you all in Prague?’ I had friends at the time doing their military service who said things like: ‘What is this nonsense you all keep coming up with Prague? We’ve got another emergency.’ They hadn’t slept in a week. ‘What hell are you doing?’ So not everyone in the entire republic was aware, Prague was the most informed about it. When I went home for a week to change my clothes, stock up on things, because we were sleeping at school, in the workshops, the school wasn’t going anywhere; they were there the whole time, so after that week I headed to Beroun to put up posters I had from Prague. I let some other friends know and they came to put up posters on the square too. We went from store to store, asking: ‘Can we put up a poster here that says: End of the One-party Government, Civic Forum” And the answers were always half and half: half the people said, sure go for it, but of course the other half of them were skeptical or not in the mood and said: Don’t put up anything there. Not that, no, no, no, no. So it was half and half and Beroun at that time was really communist, really working-class. There were factories there. It was interesting to see how, you know, in Prague things were heating up, something was going on, and working, and then suddenly you’re in Beroun and its all dark and grey and nobody anywhere... People then were glad to go on holiday so they wouldn’t have to say anything anywhere, or be under the microscope. The contrast of Beroun and Prague was interesting then, to put it shortly.”

  • The older ones who had been there for sixty-eight didn’t want to speak up, but there was only a few of them. Of course there was a lot of fear, a lot of respect, about what would happen, but the motivating force which affected mainly parents and artists, and other people who said: “We can’t let them beat children!” It was incredibly strong from those parents that they went with their children to support them at the strikes. But it probably wasn’t like that everywhere. But when it came to our school, it was incredible.

  • “We more or less knew that we would go on strike. We had already called people that weekend and Monday we met at Hollarka when the strike alert was sounded and all the lessons stopped. Again some people came there and explained everything that was going on and we started printing that week. I think it was on Friday. So Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, I think that it was on Tuesday when Jindra Havlík, who worked in exhibition design and actually had studied at our school – he was a Hollarka man. And Karel Čapek came too, he had taught me screen printing in my second year. Then Pepa Herčík and Zdeněk Netopil – an artist whose son was studying there. They came and told us it was time to print posters, simply. I learned then how to screen print, so it was a sort of yes/no decision, because spreading anti-state press at the time was not exactly taken very lightly. But one is young and one says: ‘Yes, let’s do it.’ So he goes through with it and starts up the press. The students were excited and they showed up to print. We printed for fourteen days straight, more or less.”

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    Praha, 14.02.2019

    duration: 01:42:09
    media recorded in project Stories of the 20th Century TV
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We printed for fourteen days straight

Petr Jurníček, 2018
Petr Jurníček, 2018
photo: poskytl pamětník

Petr Jurníček was born on 2 July 1971 in Prague. His parents soon divorced and his mother eventually found a new partner. Petr grew up in Bělá pod Bezdězem, Řevnice, and then mainly in Popovice u Berouna. Petr’s stepfather supported him in his interests and talents as well as his decision to apply to the then Secondary Vocational School of Fine Arts known as Hollarka, where he was accepted in 1985. In 1989 he graduated and immediately that same year began teaching screen printing at the school. In January 1989 he took part in the anti-regime demonstrations in the center of Prague during what was known as Palach’s Week; and when the Velvet Revolution began, Hollarka, thanks to students as well as a number of teachers, became one of the main centers of printing and the distribution of agitprop posters and flyers calling for support for the general strike and the Civic Forum. Today we can see these posters which flooded Prague and the entire country in the background of period photography and video footage from the days of the revolution. Petr Jurníček still teaches at the same school, which since 1990 has been under the name the Václav Hollar College and Secondary School of Fine Art.