... In former Yugoslavian languages, spomenici means monuments. For the sake of this book I will be referring to spomenici as state built socialist monuments. Most of these monuments celebrate victories and battles over nazism/fascism and some of them are ossuaries. While being the product of a regime, these monuments also marked important historic events and dramas, as it is the case of Jasenovac, which marks the location and commemorates the victims of a big concentration camp, known as the "Auschwitz of the Balkans", where several thousand people were killed in barbaric ways. During the socialist regime, these structures played also an important social role. These were the places where families used to gather during public holidays and where children would go for school trips.
Fine Art Photographer, Author and Educator
..."An important element of art to me has always been the guiding principle of "experiencing something never experienced before". Art should move, fascinate and intrigue us. Raise or answer questions and surprise us. It should give more depth to how we experience our lives. You could call it originality. And original this book is, as I had no idea what spomenici were. I understand what spomenici are now, after browsing this beautifully presented book: strange, fascinating structures, abstractions of something concretely experienced and, at the same time, literally, concrete expressions of emotional experiences. I’m fascinated and intrigued as I’ve encountered something new to me, which is now part of my consciousness. Closely related to originality is authenticity: is it what has been expressed in an original way, not just something randomly appropriated in pursuit of success, but also felt on a personal level and therefore the personal specification of something more abstract? I believe it is. "...
Julia Anna Gospodarou
Fine Art Photographer, architect, Author and Educator
.."As an architect and fine art photographer, as someone who has lived in the Balkans while traveling all over the world trying to merge in my soul all the cultures I came in contact with, I find in Giulio’s book much more than a collection of beautiful and well-crafted images. I find an ode to architecture, an ode to art and civilization, which transcend time and space, being reflected in these objects. No matter what triggered the creation of the Spomenici, and no matter if they are a reminder of an era that many people try to forget, they emerge from this book as a symbol of humanity. We must own our past and make the best of it - this is one of the fundamental messages I see in this book. "...
Film Director, and Screenwriter
..."In the time since the Second World War, until the end of former Yugoslavia, historical events, especially the anti-fascist struggle, were marked by a number of monuments, some of which are truly magic. Contrary to the expectation that monuments in Yugoslavia would be built in social-realistic fashion, beautiful, modernist monuments of great artistic European class were built, such as Džamonja, Bakić or Bogdanović were. They had an almost unreal beauty. However, in the nineties, social and political circumstances changed, Yugoslavia broke up in a bloody war, and the monuments that symbolized it became an unwanted heritage. Many of them have fallen into the rage of new politics and were turned into waste. With their beauty and memories of the heroes who defended their country from the nazis and the fascists, they do not deserve to be left behind. "...