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Yugoslavia

MoMA to Host Exhibit Celebrating the Radical Brutalist Architecture of Socialist Yugoslavia

08:00 - 6 July, 2018
MoMA to Host Exhibit Celebrating the Radical Brutalist Architecture of Socialist Yugoslavia, Berislav Šerbetić and Vojin Bakić. Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija. 1979–81. Petrova Gora, Croatia. Exterior view. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016
Berislav Šerbetić and Vojin Bakić. Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija. 1979–81. Petrova Gora, Croatia. Exterior view. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is set to open a new exhibition exploring the architecture of the former country of YugoslaviaToward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980 will be the first exhibition in the United States to honor the peculiar architecture of the former socialist nation.

More than 400 drawings, models, photographs, and film reels culled from an array of municipal archives, family-held collections, and museums across the region will be presented to an international audience for the first time. Toward a Concrete Utopia will feature works by many of Yugoslavia's leading architects. It will explore "large-scale urbanization, technological experimentation and its application in everyday life, consumerism, monuments and memorialization, and the global reach of Yugoslav architecture."

Read on for more about the exhibition and Yugoslav brutalism.

 Svetlana Kana Radević. Podgorica Hotel. 1964–67. Podgorica, Montenegro. Exterior view of the balconies. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016 odrag Živković and Đorđe Zloković. Monument to the Battle of the Sutjeska. 1965–71, Tjentište, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, 2016  Vjenceslav Richter. Yugoslav Pavilion at Expo 58. 1958. Brussels, Belgium. Archive of Yugoslavia Andrija Mutnjaković. National and University Library of Kosovo. 1971–82. Prishtina, Kosovo. Exterior view. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art, 2016 + 15

MoMA to Explore Spomenik Monuments With "Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980"

16:00 - 22 January, 2018
MoMA to Explore Spomenik Monuments With "Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980", Miodrag Živković, Monument to the Battle of Sutjeska, 1965-71, Tjentište, Bosnia and Herzegovina. View of the western exposure. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2017.
Miodrag Živković, Monument to the Battle of Sutjeska, 1965-71, Tjentište, Bosnia and Herzegovina. View of the western exposure. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2017.

The Museum of Modern Art will explore the architecture of the former Yugoslavia with Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980, the first major US exhibition to study the remarkable body of work that sparked international interest during the 45 years of the country’s existence. The exhibition will include more than 400 drawings, models, photographs, and film reels culled from an array of municipal archives, family-held collections, and museums across the region, introducing the exceptional built work of socialist Yugoslavia’s leading architects to an international audience for the first time.

Edvard Ravnikar, Revolution Square (today Republic Square), 1960-74, Ljubljana, Slovenia. View of the Square. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2016. Mihajlo Čanak, Leonid Lenarčić, Milosav Mitić, and Ivan Petrović. Building B9, Block 21, 1959-65. New Belgrade, Serbia. View of IMS Žeželj the construction site. Photo: Ivan Petrović.  Stojan Maksimović, Sava Center, 1979, Belgrade, Serbia. View of conference room. Photo: Valentin Jeck, commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2016. Janko Konstantinov, Telecommunications Center, 1972-81, Skopje, Macedonia. Perspective drawing of the counter hall. Ozalid and tracing paper. + 5

See Jože Plečnik's Unrealized "Cathedral of Freedom" Animated For The Very First Time

07:00 - 30 June, 2017

Jože Plečnik is often described as Slovenia's greatest architect despite his passing over seven decades ago. The trace of his hand, which was trained in Vienna under Otto Wagner, can be seen across the country – and especially so in Ljubljana. Although Plečnik is often most keenly remembered for his restorative work and renovation of Prague Castle in the 1920s, the impact he left on the Slovenian capital is unmistakable.

Today, the city is dominated by a medieval castle, sat definatly atop a hill. It was for here, on this particularly charged site, that Plečnik proposed a radical intervention in the mid-20th Century. He wanted to build a new Slovene Parliament – a structure of State to house the legislature of the People's Republic of Slovenia within the second Yugoslavia. With this plan rejected by the authorities, Plečnik proposed a second design—known colloquially as the "Cathedral of Freedom"—here rebuilt and animated for the first time by Kristijan Tavcar.

Jože Plečnik's unrealised second proposal for the Slovenian Parliament. Image © Kristijan Tavcar Jože Plečnik's unrealised second proposal for the Slovenian Parliament. Image © Kristijan Tavcar Jože Plečnik's unrealised second proposal for the Slovenian Parliament. Image © Kristijan Tavcar Jože Plečnik's unrealised second proposal for the Slovenian Parliament. Image © Kristijan Tavcar + 12

The Actual History Behind Yugoslavia's "Spomenik" Monuments

16:30 - 2 December, 2016
The Actual History Behind Yugoslavia's "Spomenik" Monuments, © Jonk
© Jonk

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.

Jonk's Photographs Depict the Abandonment and Beauty of Yugoslavian Monuments

08:00 - 10 October, 2016
Jonk's Photographs Depict the Abandonment and Beauty of Yugoslavian Monuments, © Jonk
© Jonk

French photographer Jonk drove over 5,000 kilometers through southeast Europe. His subject matter? Yugoslavian monuments, or “spomenik” in Serbian.

Built in the 1960s and 70s under former president Josep Broz Tito, these monuments commemorate the communist resistance during the German occupation. While their sculptors and architects vary (Vojin Bakic, Jordan and Iskra Grabul among others), all of the monuments memorialize WWII battle sites or former concentration camps. Although the monuments attracted a high rate of visitors in the 1980s, many of them have been abandoned or poorly preserved after Yugoslavia’s split. Jonk’s photographs illuminate both the decay and beauty of these sculptures. 

© Jonk © Jonk © Jonk © Jonk + 13

Project Abandoned for 27 Years To Be Revitalized in Montenegro

12:00 - 17 March, 2016
Project Abandoned for 27 Years To Be Revitalized in Montenegro, Courtesy of  SADAR+VUGA and HHF architekten
Courtesy of SADAR+VUGA and HHF architekten

SADAR+VUGA, HHF architekten, and local consultant Archicon have received first prize in the competition for the adaptation and reconstruction of the Dom Revolucije (Home of Revolution) in Nikšić, Montenegro.

The existing structure, built by Slovenian architect Marko Mušič, was originally intended to represent the socio-political structure of Nikšić, Montenegro and Yugoslavia as a whole. Construction began on the building in 1978, and after eleven years, work was suspended, leaving the site uncompleted in the middle of the city for 27 years.

The new proposal will transform the Home of Revolution by utilizing the existing built structure—mainly a shell—and inserting minimal interventions to create a new type of urban space.

Nevena Katalina Remembers Yugoslav Memorials Through Posters

08:00 - 15 June, 2015
Nevena Katalina Remembers Yugoslav Memorials Through Posters, © Nevena Katalina
© Nevena Katalina

The act of remembering looms large in national cultures. Shared national memories act as a foundation for national identity, a unifying collective interpretation of history that can define what it means to belong in a certain place. Monuments loom even larger - define a national memory in concrete and stone, and you can help define your vision of the nation. That's why Nevena Katalina, a graphic design masters student at the University of Novi Sad in Serbia, has taken the famous abstract war memorials in the former Yugoslavia and translated them into posters, attempting to reconcile the imposing concrete forms with the impact they've had on culture and memory in countries around the former Yugoslavia.

Jasenovac Monument. Image © Nevena Katalina Kosmaj Monument. Image © Nevena Katalina Ilirska Bistrica Monument. Image © Nevena Katalina Ulcinj Monument. Image © Nevena Katalina + 10

Films & Architecture: "Underground"

09:30 - 11 March, 2013

Underground is the condensed version of a 5-hour series (originally broadcast on Serbian television in the 90′s) which takes place in Yugoslavia, showing the country from the beginning of WWII through the Yugoslav Wars. This theatrical version, directed by  Emir Kusturica, considered one of the master filmmakers of our time, utilises symbolic elements that require a strong knowledge of story to fully understand, and ends with a memorable finale, with the characters dancing on a floating island that separates them from the continent. This is an extraordinary film that we invite you to enjoy and comment on.

Yugoslavia Forgotten Monuments

12:00 - 2 May, 2011
Kosmaj
Kosmaj

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. More images after the break.