Spomenik

Photography by Jan Kempenaers

This Will Destroy You – They Move On Tracks Of Never-ending Light
This Will Destroy You (2008)

Traveling through the mountainous regions of former Yugoslavia, Jan Kempenaers photographed a series of large, abstract, reinforced concrete structures that dot the landscape. At first glance, they look no different from follies, or the public art pieces that adorn our parks. However, the structures were conceived not as art but monuments, or Spomenik in Serbo-Croatian. Originally used to denote solemn structures that marked burial places in memory of the dead, monuments gradually acquired a heroic nature built in celebration of war victories and important historic figures.

Constructed during World War II, the ambivalent function of the monument is embodied in the Spomenik. They were built simultaneously to celebrate the victory of the perpetuators and the tragedy of the victims. Due to their ambiguity in meaning, Spomenik have fallen into disregard. Large and heroic in scale, the evocative forms of the Spomenik are restrained through a muted palette of colours.

From N˚4: Flight.