Today’s post is a full scan of Spomenici narodnooslobodilačke borbe i revolucije SR Srbije 1941-1945 [Monuments of the National Liberation Struggle and Revolution in the Republic of Serbia, 1941-1945] (Belgrade: NIRO Eksport pres, 1981), edited by Razumenka Popović Zuma. The volume contains an extremely thorough (perhaps exhaustive) catalog of monuments dedicated to the Yugoslavian antifascist struggles created in the Republic of Serbia and the socialist autonomous provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo. The book includes information on the locations, dedications, and inscriptions of monuments of all shapes and sizes, from large-scale works documented in recent photographic surveys of Yugoslav monuments to smaller plaques and obelisks in villages and neighborhoods.
The book abounds in photographic documentation (though in black and white, and frequently low-quality reproductions), but of course the sheer number of monuments prevents complete visual documentation. The volume may be seen as a valuable counterpart to more recent publications such as Lapidari (edited by Vincent WJ van Gerven Oei, New York: punctum, 2015), which contains comparable information (and more complete photo documentation by Marco Mazzi) of socialist Albanian monuments to that country’s antifascist struggle.
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.
Today’s post interrupts our series of scans of PamorART magazine to bring you a full scan of the 1977 publication Revolucionarno Kiparstvo [Revolutionary Sculpture], a photobook published in 1977 [Zagreb: Spektar] in Yugoslavia chronicling major monuments and works of public sculpture created up to that point in the country. The book features an introductory essay by Juraj Baldani, entitled “Jugoslovensko angažirano socijalno i revolunionarno kiparstvo” [“Yugoslav socially engaged and revolutionary sculpture”] that presents a historical context for social/ist sculpture in the country beginning on the late 19th century and culminating in the postwar socialist years. The book also provides short biographies of the sculptors and architects whose works are represented.
This photobook showcases the truly impressive diversity of socialist sculpture (and its predecessors) in the former Yugoslavia, including the works of Bogdan Bogdanović, Vojin Bakić, Dušan Džamonja, Antun Augustinčić, Jordan Grabulovski, Drago Tršar, and Miodrag Živković, among many others.