Monumental Sculptures of Socialist Yugoslavia in Kosovo: Artefacts between Memory and Neglect
Dates: 1 March – 5 March 2013, presentation: 6 March 2013
Location: Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina
Led by: Marko Krojac (photographer)
This atelier creates space for photographic explorations on monumental sculptures of Socialist Yugoslavia in Kosovo through field trips, discussions, theoretic inputs, interviews and by delving into different archive material. The atelier will be led by Marko Krojac – a photographer from Berlin who has established a systematic basis of more than 500 monuments from Ex- Yugoslavia, and has exhibited his works in Germany, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Italy and Japan.
Documentary photography is hereby considered both, an externalization and trace of memory, an active construction and a record of the past. The workshop aims at documenting the current situation of these monuments, at exploring their history, at collecting related archive material, stories, new and old documents and at creatively dealing with these different sources. The medium of documentary photography is thereby the starting point, but is complemented with various other sources like sketches, collages, audio and video material.
About Marko Krojač:
Born in 1968 in Heidelberg/Germany, Marko Krojač has been a self-educated photographer since 1990. In the late nineties, he started to cooperate with organisations and groups that deal with art as well as with young and older people excluded from society; a work he continues to do to this day. Since 2002, he has been a regular commuter between Germany and the Western Balkans, living mostly in Belgrade. Nowadays he resides in Germany.
He has exhibited in Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Japan (Tokyo). First exhibitions focused on the East-Berlin Squats (occupied houses) in the 1990s. For four years he has been taking photographs of all events on the East-German ship and cultural transporter ‘MS Stubnitz’ which he lived on and travelled with. Covering live bands that played on the ship nearly every day, he specialised in ‘live on stage’ photography. Marko initially became fascinated with the wonderful landscapes of the Balkans, and began for the first time to take pictures without people. In 2003 he started volunteering for ‘Zdravo da ste’, a Belgrade-based group of psychologists working since 1991 with refugees. During that time he began to travel and explore the ex-Yugoslav countries and got to know the after-effects of the 1990s wars through refugee camps. Once again, the main motives of his photography became everyday life situations.
Marko’s personal interest in monuments throughout the Western Balkans was sparked in 2004, after he found an old map titled The Tourist Map of the Monuments of the Revolution in a second-hand shop in Belgrade. Even though he had already seen some of these monuments, he hardly knew what they were really about. So while travelling to various events by different organisations in the regions, Marko began to visit monuments along the route. Quickly he became fascinated with the monumentality of many memorial sites, their architecture and their surroundings. As these monuments commemorate events and persons related to the Second World War, he understood them also as part of his own history as a German. As chance would have it, in 2007, one day after Mark visited Bogdan Bogdanović, famous artist and sculptor of numerous monuments in the region, a drunken janitor in Kumrovec/Croatia gave him a detailed book that complements the map he had bought three years earlier.
Ever since, Marko has systematically documented and photographed more than 500 monuments throughout the Western Balkans. His aim is to not only explore the intention of their creators, but also to counter official politics of neglect regarding these sites of remembrance. His photographs are not just portraying artefacts of a time past. They also reflect the setting and often dramatic beauty of the landscape surrounding the monuments. Marko Krojač complements this documentation project with a steadily growing archive of historical publications and artefacts of everyday life in the Western Balkans.
His documentary photographs of contemporary life in the Western Balkans show another passion of his: One of catching in a careful, sensible but also honest and raw way the moments of life and relationships between people themselves as well as their urban or rural surroundings in both the present and the past.
A Set on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23162282@N05/sets/72157610619105737
Personal Blog: http://markokrojac.blogspot.de/
Credits for Photos above: Marko Krojac
MEMBERS OF THE ATELIER:
Friday, 1 March
11.00-11.30 Introduction into forumZFD’s work and aims/contents of research/information about other ateliers
11.30-12.00 Getting to Know – Presentation Round
12.00-13.00 Presentation of a selection of Marc Schneider’s photos with stories & related art works (photo collage, paintings, pop-ups, monuments at beach, monuments with old and imagined parts, science fiction documentary) & comparison of countries of Ex-Yugoslavia
15.00-16.00 Outlining Conceptual Framework
What changed? re/de/moving, adding new items/objects > updating, reuse/stealing of metal, spaceship/Mayan character of monuments, hidden locations in nature, preserving destruction > fist, manifold meanings, focus on empty spaces
16.30-17.00 Gathering first ideas
background information, ideas, sources, methods
17.00-18.00 Outlook on next days, Logistics
Saturday, 2 March
11.00-11.30 Collecting Ideas/Findings that came up over night (ca. 325 monuments: sculptures, compositions, monuments, graves, busts/sculptures, shields (metal/bronze/stone), fountains; defined as sculptures in Peja, Gjakova, Lipjan, Gjilan, Pristina (2), Landovica, Brezovica, Mitrovica;
11.30-12.30 Wrapping up the previous day, Clarification of Conceptual Framework, Handing out guiding questions
Past/Present/Future, Fact/Fiction, Documentation/Imagination, Collecting Information/Collecting & Creating Stories, Monument/Empty Spaces, Monument/Updates, Monument/Science Fiction
12.30-13.00 Updating Programme
14.00-16.00 Visiting monuments of Boro i Ramiz, Kosturnica, Brotherhood & Unity
16.00-17.30 Specifying, Presentation and Discussion of individual/collective ideas
17.30-18.00 Programme/Group Division/Collection Requests for Material/Logistics
Sunday, 3 March
10.00 Travel to Peja; 11.30 Arrival Peja
11.30-12.00 Coffee/Preparing Questions for Interview
12.00-13.00 Visiting Karagaq/Photos
13.00-14.00 Walking around/Lunch
14.00-15.00 Meeting/Interview with Zija Mulhaxha
15.00-16.30 with Zija Mulhaxha at Karagaq/Photos
16.30-18.00 Travel back
Monday, 4 March
11.00 Meeting at Stacion with those who go to archives > newspaper articles from inaugurations, travel guides, old photos of monuments, ground plans (State Archive, National Library, Ex-Museum of Revolution)
Field research around brotherhood & unity (Mentor & Jeta)
16.00-17.00 Meeting with all group in stacion > evaluating work process/presenting of first works
17.00-18.00 Next steps/logistics
Tuesday, 5 March
10.00-12.00 Meeting with Association of Veterans of National Anti-Fascist Liberation War
13.00-18.00 Working on Ideas/Logistics/Discussions about ways of presentation
INSIGHTS INTO THE ATELIER:
Photos: Ljubisa Milovanovic
PRESS RELEASE: 5 March 2013
Monumental Sculptures from Socialist Yugoslavia in Kosovo: Artefacts between Memory and Neglect
DAY OF OPEN ATELIER
The documentary photography atelier has created space for photographic explorations on monumental sculptures of Socialist Yugoslavia in Kosovo through field trips to Pristina and Peja, theoretic and practical inputs, interviews with members of the National Anti-Fascist Liberation War Association and by delving into different archive material from Kosovo’s State Archive, the National Library and private collections like old postcards, monographs, tourist guides, photos and newspaper articles from the inauguration of the monuments. The atelier was led by Marc Schneider – a photographer from Berlin who has travelled around the region of Former Socialist Yugoslavia to document these monuments and collect stories around them. His collection currently covers around 500 of these sites.
The guiding questions of the research were: When were these monuments erected and by whom? How many of these monuments have been placed in Kosovo? How do they look now and how before, how did their surrounding changed, and which items and objects have been added or removed? Which manifold meanings do people give to these monuments, and how these interpretations changed? How do members of the National Anti-Fascist Liberation War Association consider this change? And which stories evolve around empty spaces of already removed or destroyed sites?
At the day of the open atelier, this Wednesday, 6 March 2013, at Stacion – Center for Contemporary Arts Pristina, the provisional results of the atelier will be presented to a wider public. Visitors will get an insight into our findings, filled with dates, copies, meanings, photos, sketches and audio recordings. The atelier is set up of artists, journalists, photographers, sculptors and students from Mitrovica, Vushtrri, Peja, Pristina, Lipjan and Gracanica. Special attention is given to monumental sculptures of Socialist Yugoslavia in Peja, Pristina and Lipjan.
forumZFD wants to initiate constructive debates on dealing with the past in Kosovo. With the current art based action research, entitled “Recollecting the Past in Kosovo: Cultural Memory between Facts and Fiction”, forumZFD wants to focus on chapters of Kosovo’s past which have been largely unexplored or which do not find their way into nowadays debates. The next ateliers to come will focus on women protests in the 1990ies, war rapes and the artistic representation of victim stories.
This atelier is organized in collaboration with Stacion – Center for Contemporary Arts Prishtina.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com (049/618624)