For many years, Yugoslavia’s futuristic “Spomenik” monuments were hidden from the majority of the world, shielded from the public eye by their remote locations within the mountains and forests of Eastern Europe. That is, until the late 2000s, when Belgian photographer Jan Kempenaers began capturing the abstract sculptures and pavilions and posting his photographs to the internet. Not long after, the series had become a viral hit, enchanting the public with their otherworldly beauty. The photographs were shared by the gamut of media outlets (including ArchDaily), often attached to a brief, recycled intro describing the structures as monuments to World War II commissioned by former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito in the 1960s and 70s.
This accepted narrative, however, may not be entirely accurate, as Owen Hatherley writes in this piece for the Calvert Journal. In the article, Hatherley explains the true origins of the spomenik, and how this misconception has affected the way we view the structures and the legacies of the events they memorialize.
Read the full piece at Calvert Journal, here.