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Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980

Two giants of Slovenian Modernism are presented in MoMA

Two giants of the Slovenian Modernism, architects Edvard Ravnikar and his student Milan Mihelič, are presented at the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) as part of an exhibition of Yugoslav architecture of the post-WWII period, which runs between 15 July 2018 and 13 January 2019.

"Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980 introduces the exceptional work of socialist Yugoslavia's leading architects to an international audience for the first time, highlighting a significant yet thus-far understudied body of modernist architecture, whose forward-thinking contributions still resonate today," MoMA says on its website under a photo of Ljubljana's Republic Square designed by Ravnikar.

Exceptional built work of Yugoslavia

Situated between the capitalist West and the socialist East, Yugoslavia’s architects responded to contradictory demands and influences, developing a postwar architecture both in line with and distinct from the design approaches seen elsewhere in Europe and beyond. The architecture that emerged—from International Style skyscrapers to Brutalist “social condensers”—is a manifestation of the radical diversity, hybridity, and idealism that characterized the Yugoslav state itself. Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980 introduces the exceptional work of socialist Yugoslavia’s leading architects to an international audience for the first time, highlighting a significant yet thus-far understudied body of modernist architecture, whose forward-thinking contributions still resonate today.

Toward a Concrete Utopia explores themes of large-scale urbanization, technology in everyday life, consumerism, monuments and memorialization, and the global reach of Yugoslav architecture. The exhibition includes more than 400 drawings, models, photographs, and film reels from an array of municipal archives, family-held collections, and museums across the region, and features work by important architects including Bogdan Bogdanović, Juraj Neidhardt, Svetlana Kana Radević, Edvard Ravnikar, Milan Mihelič, Vjenceslav Richter, and Milica Šterić.

With the exhibition, MoMA aims to introduce the "exceptional built work of socialist Yugoslavia's leading architects to an international audience for the first time".

Toward a Concrete Utopia is organised by MoMA chief architecture and design curator Martino Stierli, curatorial assistant Anna Kats, and guest curator Vladimir Kulić, and will run from 15 July 2018 to 13 January 2019.

Edvard Ravnikar's Architecture
Milan Mihelič Exhibition

Text by Tanja Glogovčan

Source: STA and www.moma.org

Photo: SAZU Archives, Centre for Architecture Slovenia Archives