silent shrines

I ran across a link the other day to an old article about a photography collection by Belgian photographer Jan Kempenaers called Spomenik.  "Spomenik" is Serbo-Croatian for monuments, and the photos are of amazing futuristic but abandoned monuments that are scattered across the former Yugoslavia. They were commissioned in the 1960's and '70's to commemorate things like sites of World War II Battles or Concentration Camps. While they attracted millions of visitors through the 1980's, they were abandoned after the Republic dissolved in the early 1990's. Many monuments were destroyed, but others have only fallen into disrepair and lie deserted and unused.  Kempenaers traveled through Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina using a 1975 map to locate the memorials in his photographs. The monuments are amazing on their own, but their desolate condition and stark surroundings add even more layers of visual impact. It so happens that Spomenik is currently on display at the UCLA Fowler Museum's Goldenberg Galleria through August 11.  If you can't see it in person, you can view the collection on Kempenaers' website here:  Jan Kempenaers: Spomenik