Jan Kempenaers

Middelheim Museum

In the late ’60s and the ’70s, Yugoslavia, at that time a socialist republic, launched a substantial program of monument building, resulting in a dense network of dozens of memorials all over the country, on both urban locations and more rural sites. The assortment of forms and shapes is quite extraordinary. While most of the monuments resort to a figurative language in the tradition of nationalist-socialist sculpture, others are abstract constructions of concrete and steel. Often standing in striking natural environments, these large-scale sculptures were meant to act as glorious reminders of the country’s past and strong expressions of faith in its (socialist) future. During the war and after the dissolution of the republic in the early ’90s, many of these monuments suffered sad fates. While a few have been carefully maintained and still serve as tourist destinations, most have been

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