ETERNAL MONUMENTS IN THE DARK



In the past 9 years since 2012, I have been traveling around Europe, photographing monuments at night.


Monuments bear people’s memories of the local environment, they are the ‘record’ of changes of history and culture, and have become the symbol of a kind of cultural remnant. They express remembrance towards the deceased in the past, the cruciality of yesterday’s wars, the adoration of religions and beliefs, the evolution of the local landscape… In the mind of people of today, they have seized a little moment for themselves, fighting against the mortality of life.


However, some monuments inevitably faded as time went by, being neglected or even destroyed. As such glorious and solitary beings, their beauty of paradox is fascinating, let alone the aesthetic value of their design. Their daring and avant-garde appearance used to be filled with utopian and futuristic imaginations, this beauty is dazzling and everlasting.


I visit them in the dark and paint them with light. I want to present their beauty with a new approach. By using light painting photography, I am trying to create a door: a door that connects the past and future, prosperity and decay, glory and pain, the monuments in front of my eyes and myself. Creating surreality in reality is a fascinating process. While being convicted of insignificance in front of eternity, this is the evidence of our short-lived co-existence that I could provide.


I would like to dedicate this series of photos to those who designed the monuments, and those who were once remembered by the monuments.


📍Countries:

Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania, Armenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Albania, Ukraine, Germany, Denmark, Spain.



Kozara (Козара)

Name: Monument to the Revolution (Spomenik Revoluciji/Споменик Револуцији)

Location: Mrakovica area of Kozara National Park, Republic of Srpska, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year built: 1972

Designer: Dušan Džamonja


Podgarić

Name: Monument to the Revolution of the People of Moslavina (Spomenik Revolucije Naroda Moslavine)

Location: Podgarić, Croatia

Year completed: 1967

Designers: Dušan Džamonja, Vladimir Veličković


Kruševo (Крушево)

Name: Ilinden Memorial (Споменик „Илинден“) or 'Makedonium' (Македониум)

Location: Gumenja Hill in Kruševo, Macedonia

Year completed: 1974

Designers: Jordan Grabul, Iskra Grabul


Tjentište (Тјентиште)

Name: The Battle of Sutjeska Memorial Monument Complex in the Valley of Heroes

Location: Tjentište, Republic of Srpska, Bosnia & Hercegovina

Year built: 1971

Designers: Miodrag Živković, Ranko Radović


Kruševo (Крушево)

Name: Ilinden Memorial (Споменик „Илинден“) or 'Makedonium' (Македониум)

Location: Gumenja Hill in Kruševo, Macedonia

Year completed: 1974

Designers: Jordan Grabul, Iskra Grabul


Buzludzha (Бузлуджа)

Name: Buzludzha

Location: Stara Zagora Province, Bulgaria

Year built: 1971 - 1981

Designer: Georgi Vladimirov Stoilov


Buzludzha (Бузлуджа)

Name: Buzludzha

Location: Stara Zagora Province, Bulgaria

Year built: 1971 - 1981

Designer: Georgi Vladimirov Stoilov


Podgarić

Name: Monument to the Revolution of the People of Moslavina (Spomenik Revolucije Naroda Moslavine)

Location: Podgarić, Croatia

Year completed: 1967

Designers: Dušan Džamonja, Vladimir Veličković


9th Fort

Name: Monument to the Victims of Fascism ('9th fort and monument')

Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Year completed: 1984

Designer: Alfonsas Vincentas Ambraziūnas

More Info >


Popina (Попина)

Name: Popina Monument Park ('Mausoleum to the Fallen Insurgents'; 'The Sniper')

Location: Štulac, Serbia

Year completed: 1981

Designer: Bogdan Bogdanović


Kosmaj (Космај)

Name: Monument to the Fallen Soldiers of the Kosmaj Detachment (Споменик борцима Космајског одреда)

Location: Kosmaj Mountain Park, Serbia

Year completed: 1971

Designers: Vojin Stojić, Gradimir Medaković


Aparan

Name: Monument to the Battle of Bash-Aparan

Location: Aparan, Armenia

Year completed: 1979

Designer: Rafael Israelyan


Makljen

Name: Monument to the Battle of the Wounded

Location: Mt. Makljen, FBiH, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year completed: 1978

Designer: Boško Kućanski


Gyumri

Name: Gyumri Iron Fountain

Location: Gyumri, Armenia

Year completed: 1982

Designer: Artur Tarkhanyan


Heart to Jesus

Name: Heart to Jesus

Location: Gordon Hill in Harghita County, Transylvania, Romania

Year completed: 2011

Designer: Walter Zawaczky


Ostra (остра)

Name: Monument to Courage (Spomenik hrabrima/Споменик мужевима)

Location: Ostra, Serbia

Year completed: 1969

Designers: Miodrag Živković, Svetislav Ličina


Landmarke Lausitzer Seenland

Name: Landmarke Lausitzer Seenland

Location: Senftenberg, Germany

Year built: 2008

Designer: Architektur & Landschaft Stefan Giers


Kadinjača (Кадињача)

Name: Kadinjača Memorial Complex (Спомен комплекс Кадињача)

Location: Užice, Serbia

Year completed: 1952, with expansion in 1979 (2 years to build)

Designers: Miodrag Živković, Aleksandar Đokić


Petrova Gora

Name: Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija

Location: Petrova Gora National Park,Vojnić, Croatia

Year completed: 1981

Designer: Vojin Bakić


Grmeč

Name: Monument to Korčanica

Location: Korčanica Memorial Zone of Grmeč Mountain, FBiH, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year completed: 1979

Designer: Ljubomir Denković


Barutana (Барутана)

Name: Memorial to the Fallen of the Lješanska Nahija Region

Location: Barutana, Montenegro

Year completed: 1980

Designer: Svetlana Kana Radević


Sisak

Name: Monument to the Detachment in Brezovica Forest

Location: Novo Selo Palanječko, Croatia

Year completed: 1981

Designer: Želimir Janeš


Jasenovac

Name: Flower Monument (Stone Flower)

Location: Jasenovac, Croatia

Year built: 1966

Designer: Bogdan Bogdanović


Gyumri

Name: Gyumri Iron Fountain

Location: Gyumri, Armenia

Year completed: 1982

Designer: Artur Tarkhanyan


Heart to Jesus

Name: Heart to Jesus

Location: Gordon Hill in Harghita County, Transylvania, Romania

Year completed: 2011

Designer: Walter Zawaczky


Nikšić (Никшић)

Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters of WWII (Spomenik Palim Borcima U Drugom Svjetskom Ratu)

Location: Nikšić, Montenegro

Year completed: 1987

Designer: Ljubo Vojvodić


Semn Dacic

Name: Monument Dacic falx, Semn Dacic

Location: Orastie, Romania

Year built: 2007

Designer: Nicolae Adam

More Info >


Gligino Brdo (Глигино Брдо)

Name: Freedom Hill Monument

Location: Gligino Hill, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year built: Late 1970s

Designer: Ahmed Bešić


Gevgelija (Гевгелија)

Name: Monument to Freedom or 'The Flower of Freedom" (Цветот на слободата)

Location: Mrzenski Hill in Gevgelija, Macedonia

Year completed: 1969

Designers: Jordan Grabul, Blagoj Kolev


Salaspils

Name: Salaspils memoriāls, Latvia

Location: Riga, Latvia

Year completed: 1967

Designer: Ļevs Bukovskis

More Info >


Straja

Name: Monumentul Tineretului

Location: Straja, Constanța County, Romania

Year completed: 1987

Designer: Pavel Bucur


Oteševo (Отешево)

Name: Monument to the Prespa Party Conference (Споменик за Преспанското советување)

Location: Oteševo, Macedonia

Year completed: 1973

Designers: Jordan Grabul, Boro Josifovski


Sanski Most

Name: Šušnjar Memorial Complex (Спомен-подручје Шушњар/Spomen Groblje Šušnjar)

Location: Sanski Most, FBiH, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Year completed: 1970

Designer: Petar Krstić


Čačak (Чачак)

Name: Mausoleum of Struggle and Victory

Location: Čačak, Serbia

Year completed: 1980

Designer: Bogdan Bogdanović


Third Angel

Name: Monument of the Third Angel

Location: Chernobyl, Ukraine

Year completed: 2011

Designer: Anatoly Haidamaka

More Info >


Kyiv Crematorium

Name: Kyiv Crematorium

Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Year completed: 1982

Designer: A. Miletski


Treptower Park

Name: Soviet War Memorial (Treptower Park)

Location: Berlin, Germany

Year completed: 1949

Designer: Yakov Belopolsky


Star Monument

Name: Qukës-Pishkash Star Monument

Location: Librazhd – Përrenjas, Albania

Year completed: 1978

Designer: Perikli Çuli


Aparan

Name: Monument to the Battle of Bash-Aparan

Location: Aparan, Armenia

Year completed: 1979

Designer: Rafael Israelyan


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I'm fascinated by the man-made environment. There are some topics I’m especially into, like abandoned sites, brutalist architecture, mass concrete monuments, towers, bunkers, underground tunnels, and many other urban structures. Those places are empty and eerily quiet at night in darkness. But the existence of them actually speaks for themselves, waiting for us to discover and listen to their stories - no matter sad, absurd, heartbroken, or beautiful, they are all shining in the dark, waiting for us to reap.


As a traveler, I never witnessed those places during their flourishing time in the past, and in the future, I also have no control over how they will become, whether they get abandoned, renovated, or even completely demolished. So the only thing I can do is appreciate the very moment I visit them and witness the current status in their life circle.

Simply documenting those places is not the only thing I want to achieve. By controlling the light and time via light painting photography, I want to recreate them and build a connection between us. They are transformed on my photos and generate unique scenes that only belong to me.


Eternity is the thing people always pursue but never get in real life. Many times when I’m at those places shooting at night, I do feel I have built a connection between them and me. While feeling how insignificant and lonely we humans are when facing eternity, by doing all this, all I can do is prove that we used to have each other.


If I have to put into words what I wanted to tell through my photos, ‘The Romance of Eternity’ is my answer.


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View more about this project HERE


People to Thank:

People I'd like to thank for helping me out during my trips and shoots for this project:

Mark O'Neill , Li Yanan , Dee Zhou , Gunnar Heilmann , Mafu Fuma , Darmon Richter, Marc Fernández

Frodo Álvarez , Joy Zhu, Tomo Yang


Information of Spomenik in ex-Yugoslavia: Spomenik Database





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