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April 27, 2010 10:37 PM   Subscribe

A small slide show of partisan monuments on the territory of former Yugoslavia. via: [aesthetic interlude] and [grain edit]
posted by tellurian (12 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Great post, thanks.
I've had this France Štiglic film recommended to me as a classic of the partisan-heroic aesthetic; I've not actually watched it yet but, er, it's about the only relevant thing I have to say about Yugoslavian partisans. Ahem.
posted by Abiezer at 11:22 PM on April 27, 2010

Wow, those are amazing. Thanks for posting this. I particularly love the one that looks like a group of chess pieces (Prilep).
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:42 PM on April 27, 2010

Spectres still inhabit the monuments, but their context, their audience has been lost.

Quoted for truth. There is a small partisan monument in Maribor, Slovenia that is universally and exclusively referred to as "Kojak." (After the eponymous, bald-headed TV detective)

It's been called that for decades now; at this point it's not even remotely funny anymore. I would wager that most people don't even know the thing's real name. People just matter-of-factly say: "I'll meet you by Kojak at 8."

In the meantime, surveys continue to show that young people in Slovenia don't even know (or care) who Tito was. Thus, it's only a matter of time before people forget the monument's original purpose and start thinking the thing is really a tribute to Telly Savalas.

I suppose that's the trouble with abstract monuments: it's up to people to imbue them with meaning. And in the 70s, people here really liked Kojak.
posted by Ljubljana at 1:44 AM on April 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

Once you've abandoned God and representationalism, all you're left with is a bunch of screwy shapes, like the landscapes in George Herriman's Krazy Kat comics. "Ug. Me make big shape. Put on landscape. Must mean something!"
posted by Faze at 3:54 AM on April 28, 2010

Thanks for your comment Ljubljana.
And in the 70s, people here really liked Kojak.
Can you expand? I know he was a big hit worldwide but you seem to be saying he was embraced by your country to an extraordinary degree.
posted by tellurian at 4:14 AM on April 28, 2010

Kojak was a bit before my time, but as a character, he was pretty well-known in the former Yugoslavia. My dad liked him. Having watched reruns of the show here in America, I can surmise that his Balkany personality and clannishness seemed pretty familiar to Yugoslavs (Savalas was, of course, Greek) and his gritty, somewhat macho demeanor, combined with a quintessentially big heart, more or less fit a lot of the desired characteristics of what a man should be. (By Yugoslav standards.) So it doesn't surprise me that he was big deal in the former Yugoslavia.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 6:38 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I know the guy that put the bruce lee statue in mostar, which makes me feel a wee bit famous or something : )

great post - first one ot there with a 5x4 is teh winner.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:09 AM on April 28, 2010

I have my own collection of photos of these things from Slovenia's Stajerska region. The big one in Maribor also looks like Telly's cranium, but with faces of the heroes embossed on it.

I wonder if a similar, but less visually interesting slide show could be made of massacre monuments. There's a simple obelisk at the foot of Pohorje where the Germans killed a bunch of undesirables. I assume this type of monument would be uniform in style as well.
posted by clarknova at 7:19 AM on April 28, 2010

I want to live in #12, Krusevo.
posted by contessa at 7:37 AM on April 28, 2010

Those are... interesting. I'll have to forward that site to my father. My grandfather lived near Mostar. He was undersecretary of mining. During WWII, the Germans took over his mines, which made him a collaborator and a target for US bombers. But my father's cousin Olga was a Partisan, and she used to try to bomb the bridges leading to my grandfather's mine. Apparently she wasn't a very good terrorist, since she never succeeded, even with my grandfather's help. After the war, Cousin Olga vouched for my grandfather, so he wasn't hanged as a traitor. Ah, good times.
posted by acrasis at 4:24 PM on April 28, 2010

Nice post. I like this image.
posted by puny human at 7:24 PM on April 28, 2010

Update: My father had never seen or heard of any of these monuments, and thought they were fabulous. So: thanks!
posted by acrasis at 2:11 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

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