Commissioned by former Yugoslavian president, Josip Broz Tito in the 1960s and 70s to commemorate sites where WWII battles took place, these now forgotten structures stand empty and without the significance it once had decades ago. Designed by different sculptors and architects, the strong and powerful blending of art and architecture come together in these monuments to convey the sense of confidence and strength of the Socialist Republic. However, after the Republic gradually died down in 1992, they lost their sense of wonder and no longer attracted the millions of visitors a year.

Jasenovac

These structures were commissioned by former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito in the 1960s and 70s to commemorate sites where WWII battles took place (like Tjentište, Kozara and Kadinjača), or where concentration camps stood (like Jasenovac and Niš). They were designed by different sculptors (Dušan Džamonja, Vojin Bakić, Miodrag Živković, Jordan and Iskra Grabul, to name a few) and architects (Bogdan Bogdanović, Gradimir Medaković…), conveying powerful visual impact to show the confidence and strength of the Socialist Republic. In the 1980s, these monuments attracted millions of visitors per year, especially young pioneers for their “patriotic education.” After the Republic dissolved in early 1990s, they were completely abandoned, and their symbolic meanings were forever lost.

Podgarić
From 2006 to 2009, Kempenaers toured around the ex-Yugoslavia region (now Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, etc.) with the help of a 1975 map of memorials, bringing before our eyes a series of melancholy yet striking images. His photos raise a question: can these former monuments continue to exist as pure sculptures? On one hand, their physical dilapidated condition and institutional neglect reflect a more general social historical fracturing. And on the other hand, they are still of stunning beauty without any symbolic significances.

Petrova Gora

Kosmaj

Tjentište

Kruševo

Kozara

Grmeč

Ilirska Bistrica

Sanski Most

Niš

Košute

Korenica

Knin

Makljen

Tjentište

Kolašin

Kadinjača

Mitrovica

Brezovica

Kamenska

Ostra

Sisak

Nikšić

Sinj

Zenica

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