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 in this region lost most of their significance and prominence.

In the 1960s and 70s former yugoslavian president Josep 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 brutalistic 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 facistic 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, concentration camps, mass graves and similar atrocities.

The monuments enjoyed a high status of national reputation but the death of heroized president Tito, the drastic rise of nationalistic movements , the simultaneously dying idea of a united Yugoslavia and subsequent outbreak of the Yugoslav Wars diminished the importance

of their conceptual symbolism.

Today most of these concrete creations are considered to be deserted and lost orphans.

The monuments stand ruinous and neglected on overgrown hills, mountains and in forests -

Hiding and carrying deep scars of the 90s wars. They remind of a local unity that does not exist

anymore, or tries its best to exist in new ways.

After visiting and studying 25 of these war monuments it was Kevin Ramolla´s intention to show the variety and beauty within these massive, brutalistic 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 rewakening.

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.

© 2020 Kevin Ramolla

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