Monument of the Uprising People Kordun Banija - Photo by Valentin Jeck; courtesy of MoMA.

Monument of the Uprising People Kordun Banija – All photos by Valentin Jeck; courtesy of MoMA.

Photo Essay – Swiss photographer Valentin Jeck captured the Brutalist architecture of former Yugoslavia for Toward a Concrete Utopia, MoMA’s major exhibition exploring the exceptional work built during the the 45 years of the country’s existence.


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Monument to the Battle of the Sutjeska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1965-71 - Photo bt Valentin Jeck; courtesy of MoMA.

Monument to the Battle of the Sutjeska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980 features more than 400 drawings, models, photographs, and film reels culled from an array of municipal archives, family-held collections, and museums across the region. The exhibition will be open until January 13, 2019.

Valentin Jeck - Ilinden Spomenik: Macedonia’s Space-Age Monument to Freedom - Courtesy of MoMA

Ilinden Spomenik: Space-Age Monument to Freedom, Macedonia.

Jeck’s was commissioned by MoMA to photograph impressive examples of architecture designed to shape a national identity during the socialist country’s formative years. The blown up photos are displayed around the Robert Menschel Galleries on the third floor.

Valentin Jeck -Library of Kosovo - Courtesy of MoMA

Library of Kosovo, Kosovo.

On my trips i came past loads of interesting buildings.” Says the photographer to Archipanic. “Special were the monuments in former Yugoslavia because nowhere in the western world you would find something like it. It’s a flowing mixture between architecture and sculpture.”

Avala TV tower, Serbia Photo by Valentin Jeck, Courtesy of MoMA.

Avala TV tower, Serbia.

The buildings were an expression of the modern comunity and demonstrated a boom. Today some of them are in a bad condition and seem a bit surreal. It’s time, to open peoples eyes for the architectural quality. It was so visionary and has wrongly fallen into oblivion.”

Valentin Jeck - Monument to the Fighters Fallen in the People’s Liberation Struggle, Slovenia - Courtesy of MoMA.

Monument to the Fighters Fallen in the People’s Liberation Struggle, Slovenia.

The exhibition focuses on the architecture built from 1948 to 1980 — from International Style skyscrapers to Brutalist “social condensers” — as a manifestation of the radical pluralism, hybridity, and idealism that characterized the Yugoslav state itself.

Housing by Dinko Kovačić and Mihajlo Zorić in Spilt, Croatia - Photo by Valentin Jeck, Courtesy of MoMA.

Housing by Dinko Kovačić and Mihajlo Zorić in Spilt, Croatia.

Exploring themes of large-scale urbanization, technological experimentation and its application in everyday life, consumerism, monuments and memorialization, and the global reach of Yugoslav architecture, Toward a Concrete Utopia features work by important architects such as Bogdan Bogdanović, Juraj Neidhardt, Svetlana Kana Radević, Edvard Ravnikar, Vjenceslav Richter, and Milica Šterić.

Ljubljana Revolution Square (now Republic square), Slovenia - Photo by Valentin Jeck. Courtesy of MoMA.

Ljubljana Revolution Square (now Republic square), Slovenia.

From the sculptural interior of the White Mosque in rural Bosnia, to the post-earthquake reconstruction of the city of Skopje based on Kenzo Tange’s Metabolist design, to the new town of New Belgrade with its expressive large-scale housing blocks and civic buildings, the exhibition examines the unique range of forms and modes of production in Yugoslav architecture and its distinct yet multifaceted character.

Skopje Telecomm Center, Macedonia - Photo by Valentin Jeck, Courtesy of MoMA.

Skopje Telecomm Center, Macedonia.

All photos by Valentin Jeck – Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Šerefudin's White Mosque, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Photo by Valentin Jeck. Courtesy of MoMA.

Šerefudin’s White Mosque, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

1978 office tower in Ljubljana by Milan Mihelič - Photo by Valentin Jeck, courtesy of MoMA.

1978 office tower in Ljubljana by Milan Mihelič.