Today’s post is a full scan of the 1968 publication Jugoslavija: Spomenici Revoluciji [Yugoslavia: Monuments to the Revolution], edited by Miloš Bajić. The photobook contains many of the same monuments later documented in Revolucionarno Kiparstvo , but also includes several monuments (or alternate views of memorials) not included in the later publication. The publication is entirely in black and white, and includes two supplementary sections, one with biographies of the artists and architects of the various monuments and one with descriptions of the significant events associated with each memorial or location.
In some cases, the memorials included are documented as maquettes (such as Miodrag Zivković’s model for the ‘valley of the heroes’ monument to the battle of Sutjeska). The publication showcases the variety of Yugoslav monumental forms and styles, showing examples of abstract, architectonic, and figurative monuments and monumental complexes. The recognition of this diversity is crucial in the face of the continued transformation of Yugoslav monuments (and especially the abstract ones) into what Owen Hatherley terms ‘concrete clickbait’–anonymous images of a conveniently ‘abstracted’ bizarre future past. It is also important to understand the forms of photographic representation (and, it must be said, photo-aesthetic fetishization) that were applied to these monuments long before Jan Kempenaers’ recent photo-documentation project Spomenik (2010-2014). While Kempenaers’ photographs are the source of much recent popular interest in Yugoslav monuments, and also the source of much recent fetishization of their supposedly ‘alien’ aesthetic paradigms, it is important to seriously consider how these monuments were photographed and presented by their contemporaries, and how they were framed both historically and aesthetically in these photographs.