Miroslav Petříček is a Czech philosopher and former pupil of Jan Patočka. For political reasons, Petříček was not allowed to study at the university, and until 1990 was employed at the Hydrometeorological Institute. Between 1971 and 1977, Petříček attended the underground seminars of Jan Patočka and in 1990 he received a masterʼs degree from the Faculty of Arts of Charles University. In 1998, he successfully finished his doctoral studies. Five years later, he became an associate professor. Between 1990 and 1992 Petříček worked in the Jan Patočka Archives and at the same time he was an external lecturer at Charles University. Since 1992 he has been working in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Charles University in Prague. From 1992 to 1995 he taught at the Central European University in Prague, and in 1992 he was a research fellow at Institut für die Wissenschaften von Menschen in Vienna. Then he began to lecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and since 2001, he has collaborated with the Center for Audiovisual Studies at the Film and TV school of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU). In 2007, Petříček was appointed as a professor of film, television and photographic art and new media – theory of film and multimedia production.
Miroslav Petříček, influenced by Jan Patočka, deals mainly with the contexts of contemporary art. Moreover, he works as a translator, especially of French and German authors. He specialises mainly on contemporary French philosophy and the relationship between philosophy and art.
Petříčekʼs cooperation issuing samizdat volumes of Jan Patočkaʼs works was appreciated by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and in 1990, Petříček, along with I. Chvatík, P. Kouba, J. Vít and R. Palouš, was awarded the the Academy’s annual prize.
- Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
Andrej Pešta was a photographer of Roma origin. He was born in Italy in 1921, from where he left after Mussolini took over Italy and turned the country fascist. Here he came into contact with local Roma and learned Romani language. At the age of twenty he entered the Svoboda army as a member of a tank crew. Until the end of the war, however, he fought in Italy on the part of the guerrillas. By believing he was closer to the communist idea and after the war he returned to Czechoslovakia. He worked as a driver or as a commissioner for the eviction of the Germans in Jeseník. In the fifties, after graduating from an industrial evening school, he became the head of various locksmithing operations. At the beginning of the 1960s he became a deputy at the Municipal National Committee in Spisska Nova Ves. In this area, he was also a part of the local Roma community, and he also married a Roma girl. At that time, he met with Roma Milena Hübschmannová, whom he introduced to his Roma environment. At the end of the 1960s, Andrej Pešta appeared in Moravia, where he joined the Gypsy-Roma Union and took part in publishing the magazine “Romano L'il”. This cooperation was interrupted by the Communist power which abolished the Union in 1973. He devoted himself to photographing the everyday life of the Roma. As one of them, he often had access to their homes or intimate moments of family life, and his photographs are a unique testimony to the life of the Roma. These photographs are now owned by the Museum of Romani Culture in Brno, where an exhibition in his honour was also held in 2017-2018 and a book with his photographs and a life story was also published in 2018. The monograph "O Fotki" brings a different view of the Roma. On this instance, the Roma is also behind the lens and shows the world how it wants to be seen. Approximately seventy mostly black-and-white photographs map the life of the Central Bohemian Roma Andrej Pešta in socialist Czechoslovakia.
- Brno, Czech Republic
- Nový Bor, Czech Republic
Tibor Philipp (1953–) was a member of the Inconnu group. He participated in and organized many oppositional events in the 1970 and 1980s. His originally worked as a pressman and, later, businessman.
He joined Inconnu in 1982. His friendship and family tie to György Krassó was very significant in the formation of of his mindset and his artistic and political activism. He lived in Krassó’s former flat in Nádor Street, which at the time was named Ferenc Münnich street (Münnich was a prominent Hungarian communist politician who served as the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the People’s Republic of Hungary from 1958 to 1961). The flat became a central, legendary site of the oppositional movement and of the performances of Inconnu, including the banned exhibition “A harcoló város/The Fighting City, 1986,” the works for which were destroyed. This flat was the main base of the hunger strike in 1988, which was organized as an oppositional gesture in response to the arbitrary revocation of passports. The apartment was also the seat of the Hungarian October Party, which was led by Krassó in 1988.
An investigation was launched by Department III of the Ministry of Home Affairs into his activities under the covername “Fraudster.” In addition to being kept under observation, Philipp was also prohibited from traveling to the West and faced difficulties finding employment and, therefore, earning an income. Members of the Inconnu group often had to accept jobs which had nothing to do with their professional qualifications. Philipp worked as a carpenter in Bálint Nagy’s illegal architecture company. Nagy had ties to the samizdat periodical Beszélő.
In an interview held in 2014, Philipp emphasized the central role of 1956 in his mindset. He criticized the commemorations of the revolution which were held in the 2010s because of the lack of genuine content. In his opinion, the way in which 1956 was remembered formed the fault line between artists like those who participated in these commemorations and the circle of Beszélő. The latter group approached the revolution in an ambivalent way. In contrast with these “elite-intellectuals,” the “plebeian” young people from rural areas followed the so-called “pesti srác,” or “Pest boys” attitude, in other words they glorified the image of young men in Pest taking up arms and fighting in the streets, heroically if also hopelessly, against the Soviet forces. The intellectuals wanted to implement reforms from within the system, while Philipp and his fellows wanted to change the system.Philipp was a key figure because he not only organized but also diligently documented the events. He took photos of the actions and demonstrations held by democratic opposition groups, and he also took photos of György Krassó, for example when he changed the street sign for Ferenc Münnich street to Nádor street (the name which it bears today). His documents and records were given to collections, for example to Artpool and the Open Society Archive. His photos are available on Fortepan.
Pilav went into exile in 1934, but returned to Yugoslavia, to Foča, in 1937 because of disagreements with the fascists. After the establishment of the Ustasha authority, he was imprisoned as traitor in the concentration camps of Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška in 1941, from which he fled.
From 1942, he lived in Vienna, Austria. Pilav stayed there until 1946 when he was caught and rendered to Yugoslavia where he was sentenced to five years in prison for collaborating with the fascists. After his imprisonment, Pilav escaped from Yugoslavia in 1953.
Since 1954 he was found among Adil Zulfikarpašić's circle of friends, which is how Pilav became one of the initiators of Bosnian Views (Bosanski pogledi), for which he wrote a single text related to the fate of Bosniaks during the Second World War. Pilav led a humanitarian organization, the Muslim Social Service (Muslimischer Sozialdienst), which operated in Vienna.He returned to Yugoslavia in 1977 and died in Sarajevo in 1999.
- Pécs, Hungary