Belgrade Topographics [2011–2016]

As one of the oldest settlements in Europe, Belgrade has had a very specific history of discontinuity. The traditional disregard for urban development and the architectural chaos of recent times have their bitter extension in systematic deterioration and the accompanying gentrification. If the massive development of Belgrade, starting in the second part of the 19th century, generally meant expansion of the city, the transitional building frenzy of the last decades is mainly focused on its reconstruction. This reconstruction generally does not mean upgrading and restoration, but rather the implementation of decisions guided by plain profit and vulgar political power.

Initiated as an exploration of architecture, the Belgrade Topographics project consists of a large number of photographs that represent the old and the new contemporary Belgrade. Though deeply rooted in the tradition of art, the project has an underlying utilitarian value, similar to Google’s Street View. The photographs are marked by street names and depict individual structures, squares, intersections, streets, and details such as shop windows and parts of buildings.

In opposition to the beautified postcards and sensational photo reportages about events, the motifs represented in the photos are neither attractive nor obvious. Only seemingly objective, these detailed images of Belgrade may be understood as a comment and criticism. Above all, they remain documents of a city whose stressful history and uncertain destiny are regularly reduced to change that has rarely had a positive architectural outcome.  [MV]

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