Facts on the Ground: WWII Memorial Heritage in Croatia

Nonument! Symposium Ljubljana

Sanja Horvatinčić

It has been often stated that following the breakup of Yugoslavia, built WWII heritage – authentic objects,  onuments and other types of memorial markers dedicated to the Peoples’ Liberation Struggle and Revolution – have been most severely and in the highest percentage devastated in Croatia. Based on extensive field work and GIS analyses, Sanja Horvatinčić gives a more precise analysis of the scope of the monuments’ destruction and of the consequences of this process on multiple levels (identity crisis, public space, economy). By offering an almost forensic analysis of the selected case studies, she not only addresses the ethics that lie behind the much criticized “ruin pornography” of today, but – more importantly – open new questions: Is a toppled monument the only medium of re-opening, re working and re-membering a significant past? Do “preserved” monuments absolve us from the responsibility to remember?

Sanja Horvatinčić is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Institute of Art History in Zagreb, Croatia. She obtained her PhD from the University of Zadar in 2017. She is currently involved in two scientific projects in the fields of Art History and Digital Humanities (ARTNET, cro_sculpture). Since 2015, she has been a member of the Advisory Board of the MoMA exhibition “Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980”. Her research focuses on postwar memorial sculpture and architecture, Croatian/Yugoslav cultural politics and memory and heritage politics.