The Spomenik Database was set up in 2016 by writer, history hobbyist and travel enthusiast Donald Niebyl to act as a comprehensive online resource for the most significant and notable of the abstract & modernist World War II monuments built in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from roughly 1960 to 1990 (structures commonly referred to as 'Spomeniks'), which are now, after the breakup of that country in the 1990s, scattered across the present-day regions of Croatia, Slovenia, N. Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia i Herzegovina and Montenegro. It is hoped that people around the world will use this database as a tool to not only learn about and gain a greater understanding of these often misunderstood historical artifacts, but in addition, the website is organized in such a way that it provides the information needed for would-be adventurers, academic researchers and other Yugo-curious travelers to set out on their own sculptural journeys to see, experience and learn about the spomeniks for themselves.

How have these places managed to transform from monuments to atrocity and resistance into concrete clickbait? The story told by Spomenik is that these strange structures must have just been dropped onto these rural areas, most likely by the Big Man, the dictator, Tito himself. According to Gal Kirn, who has written several articles on “partisan art” and whose book Partisan Ruptures was recently published in Slovenia, the opposite is true. “For these, let's call them modernist monuments, you would be surprised to see that the financing many times came as a combination of republican (Yugoslavia was heavily decentralised into its six constituent Republics) and regional funds, and also self-managed funding, meaning also that enterprises and factories contributed — while much less was given from the federal-state level.” There were competitions and “some public calls which had juries — but the existence of these progressive sculptural objects tells us that more conventional representations-resolutions were not favoured.” That is, in many cases these “UFOs” were commissioned, funded and chosen locally.


  • spomenik.txt
  • Last modified: 2019-06-17 13:37
  • by nik