© Spomenik Database - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Connect to Us

Designers & Creators Directory

Vojin Bakić

(VOH-yeen BAH-kich)

Birthplace: Bjelovar, Croatia

Heritage: Croatian, of Serbian descent

Date born: June 5th, 1915

Date deceased: December 18th, 1992

Education: Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb (graduated 1939)

Biography

Considered to be one of the greatest Croatian sculptors of the 20th century, Vojin Bakić was an influential and well respected artist and designer for nearly five decades, especially during the 1950s and 1960s Croatian contemporary art scene. Born to a wealthy aristocratic family in Bjelovar, Croatia in 1915, Bakić showed great promise as an artist and builder even at a young age, as he crafted small homes for pigeons and rabbits in his boyhood home. As his father dying when he was only ten years old, Bakić grew up being raised by his mother, along with his four brothers and one sister. Initially after high school, Bakić studied law, but after feeling dissatisfaction he shifted to studying sculpture at Art Academy in Zagreb where he studied with famed sculptor Frano Kršinić. During his studies, he became greatly interested in monumental sculptural works that communicated mythical ideas.

As Croatia was taken over by Axis powers at the outset of World War II, Bakić and his four brothers were arrested by Ustaše forces, more than likely for simply being an ethnic-Serb, as many of this group were not only oppressed by the country's new fascist regime, but alsodeported and even killed. His four brothers were later executed at Jadovno concentration camp at Gospić, Croatia. While Bakić was also arrested by Ustaše soldiers, he was spared the same fate of his brothers -- his old teacher Frano Kršinić personally secured his release by writing a letter to the government. During the following year, 1942, Bakić married Ljubo Schneider, with whom he had his only child, Zoran.

While Bakić began his career very strongly, putting on many shows and building numerous public works, his early work was very much centered around the Soviet influcenced 'socialist realism' style -- however, in the late 50s and early 60s, as his fame began to grow, he shifted his style towards abstraction and modernist forms, a style in which he created his most recognizable work, 'Taurus'. During this time, Bakić reigns in his artistic style to focus on depicting life and nature through minimalist geometric forms. Furthermore, in an attempt to integrate 'light-forms' into his work, he experiments with cladding his sculptures with highly polished and reflective stainless steel. He employed these techniques in his WWII monument commissions at Petrova Gora, Kamenska and Kragujevac. In 1980, Bakić won the prestigious 'Vladimir Nazor Award' for his lifetime and achievements in the arts.

However, with the fall of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, much of the political upheaval and nationalist outrage were taken out on many of Bakić's most grand WWII monuments, partly because they were viewed as symbols of the 'old system' that many wanted to tear down. Monuments built by Bakić were destroyed at Bjelovar, Kamenska, Petrova Gora, Gudovac, Čazma and numerous other sites. Devastated after seeing his works destroyed in the early 90s, he began to pull away from creating new works and withdrew himself. He died soon thereafter in Zagreb in December of 1992 at the age of 77. To add to the tragedy of his life, in recent decades, Bakić's reputation has been minimized and ignored by many in the European art community -- however, for many, his monuments to the events of WWII have  become "universal symbols of remembrance for the victims of anti-fascism" across the Balkans.

Works by this Designer:

This is a listing of a number of memorials, monuments, cultural centers and other notable Yugoslav-era civic works by Vojin Bakić. Those sites listed in the upper part of this section have profile pages, while those listed in the lower part do not yet have completed profile pages. This list also includes non-Yugoslav international projects that Bakić created, as well his unrealized works for which models only exist. This list is not exhaustive and will be added to over time.

Click photos to go to page

Yugoslav Works with profile pages:

Petrova Gora, HR

small.jpg

Name: Monument to the Uprising

Year: completed 1981, w/ Berislav Šerbetić

Zagreb, HR

Name: Monument at Dotršćina Memorial Park

Year: completed 1968

Kamenska, HR

Name: Mon. to the Revolutionary Victory

Year: completed 1968, expunged 1992

Lukovdol, HR

Name: Monument to Ivan Goran Kovačić

Year: completed 1964

Čazma, HR

Cazma2.jpg

Name: Monument to the Heroes of War

Year: completed 1950, expunged 1991

Kolašin, ME

Bakic monument1.JPG

Name: Monument to the Victims of Fascism

Year: completed 1949

Kragujevac, SRB

Name: 'Circles' at Šumarice Memorial Park

Year: completed 1981

Zagreb, HR

25336271877_bb63913d35_b.jpg

Name: Monument to Ivan Goran Kovačić

Year: completed 1964

Yugoslav Works without profile pages:

Bjelovar, HR

Name: 'Call To Arms' Monument

Year: com. 1946, destroyed 1996, rebuilt 2010

Location: N45°54'32.4", E16°50'19.9"

Belgrade, SRB

Name: 'Circles' in front of Contemp. Mus. of Art

Year: completed 1960s

Location: N44°49'09.0", E20°26'31.8"

Zagreb, HR

Name: "Foliated Form"

Year: completed 1957

Location: N45°48'45.8", E15°58'35.1"

Bačkovica, HR

Name: Monument to the Eternal Guard

Year: completed 1955, expunged 1992

Location: on hill near town, exact spot unclear

Valjevo, SRB

Name: Monument to Stjepan Filipović

Year: completed 1960

Location: N44°15'49.7", E19°52'49.8"

Bjelovar, HR

Gudovac, HR

Name: Monument "Before the Execution"

Year: completed 1955, expunged 1991

Location: N45°53'17.6", E16°46'16.3"

Zagreb, Mirogoj Cem, HR

Name: Monument to Train Accident Victims

Year: completed 1978

Location: N45°50'04.7", E15°59'19.0"

Name: "Mirrors" at Elementary School #4

Year: completed 1960s

Location: N45°54'25.2", E16°51'00.2"

International Works without profile pages:

Brussels, Belgium

Name: 'The Bull' at World Expo 58

Year: com. 1958, moved to Antwerp after Expo

Location: now at N51°10'49.9", E4°24'52.1"

Mainz, Germany

Name: 'Rings' at City Admin. Building

Year: completed 1974

Location: N50°00'03.0", E8°16'40.3"

Unrealized Memorial Projects:

This section contains a listing of design proposals for various memorial projects that were submitted to competitions for consideration, but were ultimately NOT the final proposals chosen by the selection juries for the memorial projects they were submitted for. Below each photo is detailed the monument project it was submitted for, as well as the year it was submitted in.

Belgrade, SRB

Name: concept for Mon. to Marx & Engles

Year: proposed 1953, 1st prize, proj. canceled

Petrova Gora, HR

Zadar, HR

Name: Concept for Mon. to Josip Broz Tito

Year: proposed 1982, project canceled

Zagreb, HR

Name: Concept for Mon. to Josip Broz Tito

Year: proposed 1986, 1st prize, proj. canceled

Name: concept for Mon. to the Uprising

Year: proposed 1970 during 1st competition