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Hintergrund 42


In the word "memorial," commemoration (thinking of something or someone) coincides with punctuation (leaving a mark). Honoring or admonishing as the two antipodes of commemoration are in many monuments authoritarian expressions of a supposed "better knowledge" to be imparted.



The poetic memorials, mausoleums, and necropolises erected between 1951 and 1981 by Bogdan Bogdanović (b. 1922), the leading monument architect of the former multi-ethnic state of Yugoslavia, cannot be grasped in the conventional terms of a monument view. In their “archaic linguistic quality” (Friedrich Achleitner), they form a light-footed cosmos in their own right, and it is precisely in their renunciation of ideological vocabulary that they maintain a lasting presence. Curator Ivan Ristić has compiled a profound catalog (Wieser Verlag) on Bogdan Bogdanović’s memorial architectures, to which the Az W is currently dedicating a comprehensive exhibition (05.03.-02.06.2009), whereby he was able to draw from a full range in the selection of exhibits: Over 12,500 sheets (architectural designs, sketches, drawings, photographs) comprise the artistic legacy that Bogdan Bogdanović gave to the Az W collection in 2005. We are very pleased that in this issue of Hintergrund we are also able to provide small insights into the Bogdanović cosmos – thanks to his “creator”! To give an impression of the vital condition of these surrealist works “in use”, we have also compiled a small selection of his monuments, which Friedrich Achleitner photographed a few years ago. And Vera Grimmer met Bogdan Bogdanović for us three times for an interview; twice in Vienna, once in Belgrade, she spoke with him about his career, his life and his work.

In addition to this Bogdanović focus, we have broadened the frame of reference on the topic of monuments for this issue of Hintergrund and have enlisted three renowned guest authors for this purpose. In her contribution, the historian and cultural scientist Heidemarie Uhl deals with “memory” as a cultural dimension of social action and with the return of the monument in postmodernity.
Irene Nierhaus deals with the state-bearing apparatuses, the heroic heads and bodies in urban space, which since the 19th century have formulated national identity and the public sphere as a “knowledge pool of social values” in her contribution Denkmäler im Subjekt.

In historian and author Manfred Schenekl’s narrative “Breakfast in the Crypt. Das Heldendenkmal Heldentor” (Breakfast in the crypt. The heroic monument Heldentor), he brings the history of the Äußes Burgtor back to the present and makes it clear that no monument remains enclosed in the past.