Beauty In The Beast

This project and photo series evolves around the abstract and futuristic WWII monuments in former Yugoslavia which after the collapse of the socialistic system and breakups in this region lost most of their significance and prominence.

In the 1960s and 70s former yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito commissioned the conception and construction of these so-called "Spomeniks". The hired artists and architects enjoyed great creative freedom in the realization process. The final designs are characterized by brutalist and constructivist influences. Their individual narrative symbolism supported by each Spomeniks geometrically dynamic forms and emotional context are a clear message against aggressors of WWII and embody the process of breaking free from the fascist oppression.

The memorial sites and monuments are located all over Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro. With their individual locations they refer to local WWII battles and sites of atrocious war crimes.

Today most of these concrete creations are deserted and considered to be lost orphans. The monuments stand ruinous and neglected on overgrown hills, mountains and in forests - Hiding and carrying deep scars of the wars that followed. They remind of a local unity that does not exist anymore, or tries its best to exist in new ways in the traumatic aftermath of the 90s Yugoslav wars.

After visiting and studying 25 of these war monuments it was Kevin Ramolla´s intention to show the variety and beauty within these massive yet dynamic, brutalist complexes. The photo series is a visual exploration of a selection of the Spomeniks, trying to illustrate their mystic mightiness and atmospheric melancholy that surrounds them after decades of neglect. Along the

geometrical and incisive structures light points were added to support the monuments

individual symbolism and create a sense of reawakening.

With this series Kevin Ramolla tries to point out the original anti-fascist intentions of the monuments that have mostly faded into obscurity. In times where a strong nationalistic undertone is growing all over Europe it could be an important reminder of not forgetting

what we were supposed to learn from them.

© 2021 Kevin Ramolla

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