Details

Keywords Change this

Monument, Yugoslavian Modernism

Project timeline

1977 – 1979

Type

Monument & Memorial

Location Change this

Užice
Serbia

Architect Change this

Team

Sculptor Miodrag Živković

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Article last edited by Eva Mavsar on
October 25th, 2019

Kadinjača Memorial Complex Change this

Užice, Serbia
by Aleksandar Đokić Change this
1 of 19

Description Change this

The memorial complex is dedicated to the Partisan fighters of Workers' Battalion of Užice who were killed on 29th November 1941 in the battles at Kadinjača. At the beginning of World War 2, the Republic of Užice was the first liberated territory in Europe and served as a haven for the Supreme Staff of the Partisan units headed by Josip Broz Tito. The Partisans were defending the Republic of Užice to secure the retreat of the Supreme Staff from Užice towards Sandžak. This legendary Partisan feat served as the basis for the 1974 film Užička republika directed by Žika Mitrović (b. 1921, d. 2005). The elaborate architectural-sculptural design of the monument covering 15 ha was created between 1952 and 1979. The first memorial for this legendary heroic event dates to 1952 when an ossuary with the remains of the fighters killed in action and a monument shaped as a four-sided pyramid were erected, based on the designs by sculptor Stevan Živanović. The pyramid measures 11m in height and contains engraved stanzas from "Kadinjača", a poem by Užice poet Slavko Vukosavljević (b. 1927, d. 2004). In 1962, veteran organisation SUBNOR of Titovo Užice suggested an additional layout to the monument. The new programme- and spatial design project by sculptor Miodrag Živković (b. 1928) and architect Aleksandar Đokić (b. 1936, d. 2002) was approved in 1977. The grand opening of the monument was officiated by President of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito on 23rd September 1979 with 100,000 people in attendance. From the onset, memorial complex Kadinjača captured the public attention and was declared immovable cultural good of special importance the very same year. The memorial complex comprises three segments - the amphitheatre of the Republic of Užice, the Workers' Battalion promenade, which connects to the original pyramid monument by means of a series of sculptures, and the Freedom platform. From the tallest (14m) element with a symbolic opening reminiscent of a bullet hole, a dynamic figural composition of fighters symbolising the struggle for freedom unfolds in the direction of the amphitheatre. Another constituent part of the complex is the visitor centre building with the memorial well, installed at the site of the former battlefield, which integrates nicely with the configuration of the terrain. In relation with the landscape, the distinctively designed and dynamic composition of the architectural-sculptural elements forms an exceptionally effective spatial whole. Memorial architecture dedicated to the Revolution and the antifascist struggle of Yugoslav Partisans in World War 2 is a specific cultural and artistic phenomenon in the period of Yugoslav socialist society. Many among the monuments erected between the 1950s and the 1970s - including the memorial complex at Kadinjača - are the result of an interdisciplinary approach and a joint commitment by distinguished artists and architects. They have particular cultural and artistic value and they represent an important part of the total cultural heritage of ex-Yugoslav countries. During the time of the tragic, warmongering dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, memorial complex Kadinjača was neglected and exposed to the elements. Its renovation began in 2005.

Sources

  • Ljiljana Miletic Abramovic

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