August 5, 2015 - August 30, 2015
From 2006 to 2009, Jan Kempenaers trekked throughout the former Yugoslavia in search of spomeniks (Serbo-Croatian for “monuments”) that he had initially stumbled upon in an art encyclopedia. These World War II memorials were erected by the Yugoslavian government in the 1960s and 1970s, but those that were not destroyed after the collapse of the Soviet Union have quietly fallen into disrepair after decades of vandalism and neglect. Despite this, Kempenaers eschews any nostalgic impulse, and instead captures the muted cold tones of the available natural light, heightening the seemingly other-worldly nature of these alien structures and pointing to the bleak realities of a political system they once celebrated.
Jan Kempenaers (b. 1968) is a photographer based in Antwerp, Belgium. He earned a Ph.D. in Photography and Film from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent after previously studying photography at the Jan Van Eyck Academy in Maastricht in the Netherlands. He has exhibited solo shows at BREESE LITTLE in London, the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles, Middelheim Open Air Sculpture Museum in Antwerp, Crown Gallery in Brussels, and Upstream Gallery in Amsterdam. In 2010, Kempenaers published his first monograph of the Spomenik series through Roma Publications in Amsterdam.
Spomenik is on view at Blue Sky courtesy of BREESE LITTLE, London.