The Power of The (Un)-Monumental

July 7, 2017

 

"Under this Stone, here lies a monument to the victims of the war and cold war"

 

A simply awkward stone, with a sophisticated and contemporary message. A statement that explores a notion which challenges the need of any imposing, authoritative social force in public spaces.

 

A theory that asks, "do we need monumentalism whereby authorities (usually the state or dictator) establish monuments in public spaces to symbolize themselves or their ideology, and influence the historical narrative of the place"?

 

According to artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, anti-monument "refers to an action, a performance, which clearly rejects the notion of a monument developed from an elitist point of view as an emblem of power."

 

The artist responsible for the stone, Braco Dimitrijević, engraved in four languages “Under this stone there is a monument to the victims of war and Cold War".  The winning art piece of the New Monument competition, initiated within the larger project known as deconstruction of Monuments..

 

Braco Dimitrijević’s work, located in front of the former Museum of the Revolution, symbolically refers to monumental sculptures executed in the SFRJ. Its form denies dogmatic, canonized, ideologically conditioned visual representation systems of the socialist realism, therefore, opposing the prescribed visual manifestations of the mythologized (Iva Simčić)

 

The engraved words “Under this stone there is a monument to the victims of war and Cold War" renounce the function of the artwork itself, disputing its existence. It is inevitable to question the nature of this monument. Where is it located? Is the purpose of the engraved stone to point, like a sign, to the “presence” of the “real” monument or is the carved stone the monument itself? Does the monument exist at all? 

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