Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spomeniks - Lost Between Sculpture and Architecture

Jan Kempenaer's series of photographic works focusing on Spomeniks, the abstract, concrete monuments punctuating the boundaries of the countries once comprising the former Yugoslavia, is available to view here. Kampenaer's work is preoccupied with the 18th century Picturesque tradition and his photographs of these oddly incongruous structures consider the enforcement of societal rules upon the natural landscape. Out of the many hundreds of Spomeniks commissioned in the years following World War II, most have since been demolished or neglected, their location only discoverable through committed research or spontaneous encounter in the wooded, mountainous regions where they were constructed. The isolation of these once magnificent emblems of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia raises interesting questions around the function of architecture which could be thought of as ideologically defunct. Should the Spomeniks be confined to history or should their use be reconsidered, as perhaps Kempenaer's photographs intend.