Spomenik by
Jan Kempenaers

| 6 comments

Spomenik by Jan Kempenaers

These images by Belgian photographer Jan Kempenaers document a series of ruined World War Two monuments dotted across the landscape of the former Yugoslavian territories.

Spomenik by Jan Kempenaers

Constructed during the 1960s and 70s by Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito, the concrete structures were designed by numerous architects and sculptors to demonstrate the strength of the socialist republic throughout the Balkan hills and valleys.

Spomenik by Jan Kempenaers

After the dissolution of Yugoslavia many of the monuments were destroyed, but others lay forgotten and deserted, prompting Jan Kempenaers to make them the subject of his Spomenik photography series.

Spomenik by Jan Kempenaers

Kempenaers spent four years photographing the sculptures, completing the series in 2009. They go on show at London's Breese Little gallery next month as part of the photographer's first solo exhibition in the UK.

Spomenik by Jan Kempenaers

Photographer Jamie Young has undertaken a similar project to document the history of water towers in Ireland. See more photography projects on Dezeen.

Spomenik by Jan Kempenaers

Here's some information about the exhibition:


Jan Kempenaers

Breese Little is delighted to announce Jan Kempenaers' first solo exhibition in London. The show will present a selection of Kempenaers' architectural and island studies in tandem with the renowned Spomenik series charting World War Two memorials built in the 1960s and '70s across The Balkans in the former Yugoslavia.

Spomenik by Jan Kempenaers

Over the last decade, the Antwerp-based photographer has developed a heightened and conscientious aesthetic. Gradual metamorphosis is charted with shared inevitability in both the natural world and in response to mankind's intervention.

Spomenik by Jan Kempenaers

Spatial arrangement is privileged across abandoned utopian visions and cumulative urban sprawl. These images draw focus to the temporality of modernist ambitions, which nevertheless maintain their monumentality, an attraction of their natural counterparts.

Spomenik by Jan Kempenaers

Kempenaers' architectural arrangements are counter-balanced with expansive seascapes in the exhibition, captured with an interchangeable formal awareness, characteristic of his practise.

Spomenik by Jan Kempenaers

Uniformly overcast skies suggest parallels across these scenes and suburbia, proposing the alternative conditions of visual interest in a post-industrial age.

Spomenik by Jan Kempenaers

Nevertheless, Kempenaers' disinterested eye engenders a strict geometric awareness, distancing emotion from his subjects, which remain devoid of people.

  • Marko

    Most of these monuments are works of architect Bogdan Bogdanovic. He should be mentioned in the text! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogdan_Bogdanovi%C4%

  • Desk

    Beautiful! No wonder good architecture comes out of those regions.

  • Vincend

    I can recall it is a beautiful book and the history if the spomeniks is also a fascinating one. But you guys are a bit late with the review.

  • Ivan

    The review is not about the book, but rather about the exhibition. While a lot of monuments were built by Bogdan Bogdanovic, not a lot of them are pictured here, so I would not agree that “most of these monuments are works of Bogdan Bogdanovic”.

    The authors are (in order of pictures):

    » Vojin Stojic and Gradimir Vedakovic
    » Bogdanovic
    » Miodrag Zivkovic
    » Dusan Dzamonja
    » Ivan Sabolic
    » Jordan and Iskra Grabulovski
    » Miodrag Zivkovic
    » Dusan Dzamonja

    For the last three I don’t know the authors.

  • http://twitter.com/offdutyBL @offdutyBL

    Some of these seem more like they have been abandoned, rather than ruined, and are in relatively good condition. It seems like a distinction worth making to me.

  • Isidora Krstic

    The author of the monument pictured on the last photo is by my late grandfather, sculptor Petar Krstić. It is the Memorial Complex Šušnjar in Sanski Most, Bosnia and Herzegovina.