Gems from our past, 2012-2014
10 photographs, black & white
100 x 70 cm each
Courtesy of the artist
Belgrade’s architecture and cityscape have been reshaped many times in history, but it is the post-WWII urban expansion and its progressive style that has created a specific regional modernism. National architects, inspired by brutalist tendencies in Europe, developed their very own articulation of postwar modernism in the 60s. These buildings are expressions of a utopian socialist style, but today much of Tito’s postwar vision for Serbia is neglected.
David Pujado has portrayed the icons of this Tito architecture in precise black-and-white photographs, for example the Genex Tower, a 115m-high landmark designed by Mihajlo Mitrovic in 1977 and erected three years later. It owns a 30-storey residential section and an adjacent 26-storey office block, which make it the tallest apartment building in the Balkans. Giant banner advertisements drape most of its façade today. The high-rise buildings in New Belgrade, designed by several architects and divided into 72 units of varying architectural styles, are likewise impressive monolithic rows of concrete towers, even though they have developed a rather dystopian aura over the years. But compared to the plans for reshaping the city with a new waterfront alongside the river Save featuring a 200 m tall tower and the biggest shopping mall in the Balkans, as proposed by the Abu Dhabi-based project developer Eagle Hills, these pictures of built structures from the 60s look like promises from a past still waiting to become real. Pujado’s photographs have nothing nostalgic about them. On the contrary, they point to a potential inherent in architecture that doesn’t rely on economic considerations. Although landmarks in Belgrade’s cityscape and familiar to every inhabitant, it might need this distant documentary approach to enable them to compete with the visions for another new Belgrade advertised across the city these days.
David Pujado (1972, Barcelona, Spain) is a self-taught photographer whose interests predominantly revolve around black and white photography, architecture, symmetry, people, and whose work is characterised by simplicity and minimalism, the silence he nurtures around the picture. Since 2013, he has been staging exhibitions in cafe-bookstore “Meduza”, and, starting from 2014, also in jazz club “Čekaonica”. Up until today, he has organised 13 group exhibitions, where mostly new and upcoming names in the world of domestic and international photography have been presented. Pujado had three exhibitions in Barcelona, and just as many here in Belgrade. He also received rewards in international photo concourses. He currently lives in Belgrade.