Universitą Iuav di Venezia

Unfinished Modernisations

Mostra. Ljubljana, Museum of Architecture and Design




Unfinished Modernisations: Between Utopia and Pragmatism



The presentation of architectural and large-scale urban planning projects which mark the period of (socialist) Yugoslavia focuses on the milestones and visions of the (unfinished) modernisations of cities during socialism as well as answer the questions about their role and legacy in the successor countries. The Unfinished Modernisations show spaces created by the "socialist progress" in the former Yugoslavia and determine what happend to these areas after the collapse of the common state and abolition of socialism.The exhibition focuses on the physical space, e.g. on the production of city respectively as one of the fundamental means of socialist modernisation; and on the role that architecture had played in this production. However the exhibition also interferes with symbolic spaces in which this production unfolded, such as geopolitical, cultural, economic and ideological spaces.


During socialist Yugoslavia, modernisation was presented unilaterally like an everyday collective achievement that should reveal the progress of workers' self-management and make people feel proud of it. The life of Yugoslavs was thus marked by megalomaniacal, almost utopian projects in the fields of industry, energetics, traffic logistics, urban planning. On the other hand, today this socialist utopianism is often a synonym for or taken as the "original sin" of unsuitable economic structures, ecological problems and social conflicts. This project will review and present characteristic architectural and urban planning practices from the socialist period in relation to the social context from which they arose and define their current image and character. The collective works of young researchers from Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia at the exhibition are considered as one of the similar projects that put the established history of world architecture in the new light and challange the uniformed belief about the period of urban modernisation in former Yugoslavia.


The exhibition presents numerous architectural projects, ranging from tourist experiments on the Adriatic coastline, concepts for new cities and presentation pavilions at international exhibitions, to notorious public edifices and historical memorials in all the former Yugoslav republics starting with the communist takeover in 1945 to the collapse of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991. Through a new approach and audaciousness brought by the timely and political side step from modern history, it is the purpose of the project to re-examine the socialist architectural legacy of Yugoslavia and to awaken the strong and productive connections that are present at every step in the urban space of the former common state. The project is a result of a two-year collaboration, in which MAO has been cooperating as one of the partners, together with Maribor Art Gallery (SLO), UHA/Croatian Architects' Association (CRO), DAB/Association of Belgrade Architects (SR), KOR/Coalition for Sustainable Development (MK) and Hiša Oris (CRO).


Curators: Maroje Mrduljaš (HR), Vladimir Kulić (SR/USA)

Cor-curators: Matevž Čelik (SI), Antun Sevšek (CRO), Simona Vidmar (SI)