Eastwest 71

Art – Socialist architecture disappears


A photojournalist breathes new life into nearly extinct Yugoslav Socialist architecture.

The works of the artist, photographer  and filmmaker Armin Linke focus on  various human activities as well as natural  and artificial landscapes. Linke attempts to  document situations in which the border  between reality and fiction is blurred. Born  in 1966, he lives in Berlin but is a citizen of  the world, always seeking out more or less  well-known sites to develop this concept  using his cameras.  On three different trips in 2009, accompanied  by the architect Srdjan Jovanovic  Weiss, Linke worked on a project which involved  selecting architecture from the very  austere period of former Yugoslavia. He especially  focused on the Balkan architecture  of Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia-  Herzegovina.

The Yugoslav Socialist Federation,  as we all know, fell apart in the early  1990s and left behind monuments and infrastructure  built between the ’60s and  ’80s. Suspended in limbo through Linke’s  photographs, these constructions reacquire  some form of meaning, revealing a  glorious past and emphasizing their potential  for redeployment. Through his photography,  Linke explores heritage, showing  no regret for the symbolic and institutional  significance held by these structures during  the time of Colonel Tito. Now they are  deserted and empty.  The photographic works and the ensuing  catalogue produced in 2012, which is  about to be republished (Socialist Architecture: The Vanishing Act), help these remains  to discover a new identity within the  universe of monumental and artistic  works.  


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