The Lost Monuments of Ex-Yu

The Lost Monuments of Ex-Yu

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My cousin sent me a link via coolhunter to this incredible photo series. It stopped me in my tracks. Concrete spaceships? Nope. These are abandoned Communist monuments scattered all over the territory of former Yugoslavia, photographed by Dutch artist Jan Kempenaers for his series "Spomenik" (monument).

The hidden treasures of the Balkans are often overshadowed by the turmoil of the region, so it is great to see a positive spotlight. I find the photographs of the monuments particularly symbolic because they allow us to remember, but also transcend. I have a foggy memory of visiting some of them as a child, but next time I'm back home, I'll have to follow in his tracks.

"Looking at the photographs one must admit to a certain embarrassment. We see the powerful beauty of the monumental sculptures and we catch ourselves forgetting the victims in whose name they were built. This is in no way a reproach to the photographer, but rather attests to the strength of the images." —Willem Jan Neutelings, quoted from Jan's book.

Ilinden Monument, by Jordan Grabulovski in Krusevo, FYR Macedonia
Ilinden Monument, by Jordan Grabulovski in Krusevo, FYR Macedonia
Battle of Sutjeska monument in Tjentište, Bosnia
Battle of Sutjeska monument in Tjentište, Bosnia
Partisan memorial, Kosmaj Mountain, Serbia
Partisan memorial, Kosmaj Mountain, Serbia
Battle of Kozara memorial, Kozara Mountain, Bosnia
Battle of Kozara memorial, Kozara Mountain, Bosnia
Kadinjaca monument dedicated to the troops of Workers Battalion, by Miodrag Zivkovic in Uzice, Serbia
Kadinjaca monument dedicated to the troops of Workers Battalion, by Miodrag Zivkovic in Uzice, Serbia
Jasenovac monument dedicated to for the victims of the Jasenovac Nazi concentration camp, Croatia
Jasenovac monument dedicated to for the victims of the Jasenovac Nazi concentration camp, Croatia
Kolasin, Montenegro

Kolasin, Montenegro

Triptych: May 1st

Triptych: May 1st

A challenge you say?

A challenge you say?