Travnik: Frightened Eyes in the Grass

Ursa KOMAC (Photographer)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


Bogdanović’s cenotaphs were created in the context of the 1948 political split between Stalin and Tito, which provided Yugoslavia with an opportunity to develop a different approach to state-sponsored architecture. Under this new paradigm emerged a programme to build the network of memorials for the victims of fascism across different republics of Yugoslavia. This created a fertile soil for Bogdanović to create a series of supranational and trans-religious cenotaphs. They generate a public good and are drops of culture in the Balkans. The uncanny, life-affirming cenotaphs not only contrasted with the monumental socio-realist architecture from Eastern Europe, but also served to distance the program from notions of a specific ‘national’ project that could be the source for separatism, due to the ethnic tensions of Yugoslavia, itself a politically invented ‘nation’. Locals participated in building these memorials and ironically people from local community also participated in their partial destruction only a few decades later. The last Balkan War (1991–2001) left a profound imprint on the city of Travnik and on the memorial. Close beside it ran a line of trenches that divided the zone controlled by the Croats from the area under Muslim control. The stones are pierced by the bullet marks. Two of the blocks are broken. The place is forgotten and there may still be unmarked minefields in the area.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
PublisherCentre for Creative and Cultural Research, University of Canberra
Media of outputOnline
Size84.1 x 118.9 cm and 7 pieces 21 x 29.7 cm
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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