Printed Matter

Máj/My
Stephanie Kiwitt

On the Národní Třída (Avenue of the Nation) in Prague stands a department store that opened in 1975. Until the fall of the socialist regime it was called “Máj”: the month of May.

Publication Máj/My
Artists Stephanie Kiwitt
Publisher Spector Books

Nowadays the fifth month of the year is referred to in Czech as “květen”. “Máj” is an older word that has a romantic quality and is closely associated with a famous poem of the same name by Karel Hynek Mácha written in 1836.

In 1996 the British supermarket chain Tesco purchased the store, renaming it “My” in 2009. If this name is interpreted as an English word, then it refers to an individual.

It is surely no coincidence that this English name sounds much the same as the old Czech one. If pronounced, however, according to Czech phonetics, which no one ever does, it sounds quite different. Then it means “we” and refers to a collective.

Since 2017 Tesco has been selling off some of its stores in the Czech Republic because of financial losses. In spring of 2018 the department store “My” was also sold.

Photographed in Prague from November 2015 to June 2018 by Stephanie Kiwitt.

AUTHOR Stephanie Kiwitt
PHOTOGRAPHER Stephanie Kiwitt
DESIGNER Stephanie Kiwitt, Markus Dreßen
EDITOR Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Camera Austria, Graz

View this publication on the publisher’s website.

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