This Friday the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle, presents a seminar examining the legacy of modernist utopian architecture from the 1950s-70s in the former socialist Yugoslavia. This seminar complements the current David Maljkovic: Sources in the Air exhibition.
The unique structures that are the subject of the seminar were commissioned to commemorate battle sites of WWII, such as Kozara, Tjentište and Kadinjača, or where concentration camps once stood. The structures serve the purpose of memorial and portrayed a vision of future hope and progress; designed by sculptors and architects the powerful visual impact was intended to demonstrate the confidence and strength of the Socialist Republic.
In the 1980s, these monuments were a magnate for millions of visitors per year, especially for the education of young pioneers, the budding future of Yugoslavia. After the Republic collapsed in the early 1990s, these once revered and respected monuments fell into disrepair, completely abandoned, and not only losing their maintenance but also their symbolic meaning.
In their dilapidation the decaying structures have taken on a new poetic meaning, reflecting a society of historical fracturing, and resonate a different melancholic existence.
The following photographs were taken from the former region by Jan Kempenaers.