The power of art: epic Yugoslav monuments in the Balkans
The sculptures and monuments designed by Serbian architect Bogdan Bogdanović (1922–2010), who was among Yugoslavia’s most important scholars and urban planners, defy space, logic and expectations about public art. His creations, often the size of buildings and erected over a span of more than three decades from the 1950s to the late 1980s, appear as if out of nowhere. They erupt – stark, cosmic, alone – from seemingly forgotten fields. Mammoth swirls of polished concrete, steel, stone and wood rise above and loom over the countryside in this corner of Southeastern Europe and reinterpret reality in the shapes of cones, sci-fi flowers, wings, horns, fountains and columns. The pieces memorialise the region’s tumultuous 20th-century history, ethnic and religious groups, war, antifascist resistance and ideological unity. More than 20 epic works from the designer still stand across the former country, which once spanned the western half of the Balkan Peninsula and was comprised of six republics: Bosnia & Hercegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia.