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Roman Bezjak

Roman Bezjak, who was born in Slovenia but was raised in West Germany, set out to document the everyday qualities of communist buildings. Once the Ministry of Road Construction, this building in Tbilisi, Georgia, consists of five intersecting horizontal bars and resembles a Jenga game. It was designed to has as small a footprint on the ground as possible and to allow natural life to flourish. Now it houses the Bank of Georgia.

 

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Roman Bezjak

Pictured here is a Cold War-era commercial complex in Leipzig, eastern Germany. Bezjak wants viewers to approach his photos "with a gaze uncontaminated by ideology."

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Roman Bezjak

Nemiga Street in the Belarusian capital Minsk, where an old church still stands in the old city core, between two monstrosities of postwar modernism. Bezjak made repeated trips to Eastern Europe over a period spanning five years.

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Roman Bezjak

Prefabricated apartment blocks in St. Petersburg, Russia. Bezjak wanted to show the buildings from eye level, the way local citizens would have seen them every day.

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Roman Bezjak

A patriotic mosaic on the National History Museum in Tirana, Albania, built in 1981.

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Roman Bezjak

This massive 1970s government building in the eastern German city of Magdeburg become a department store after 1991.

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Roman Bezjak

The "three widows" in Belgrade, Serbia -- three massive apartment blocks.

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Roman Bezjak

Bezjak's book has collected photos of post-war architecture from countries including Poland, Lithuania, Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine and Georgia.

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Roman Bezjak

The 12-story building in the middle is a three-star hotel -- the "Hotel Cascade" -- in the Czech city of Most.

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Roman Bezjak

This publishing house in Sarajevo, Bosnia, looks like a spaceship. It shows signs of damage from the war. "It was near Snipers' Alley," Bezjak recalls -- a street in the Serbian capital that received its nickname during the Balkan wars.

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Roman Bezjak

An earthquake in 1963 gave city planners in the Macedonian capital of Skopje the chance to envision an "ideal city" in concrete. The city's main post office could be from a science fiction movie.

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Roman Bezjak

A department store in the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk.

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Roman Bezjak

The center of Dresden, where a state department store built in the 1970s was meant to be the height of modernity. The building was torn down in 2007.

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Roman Bezjak

A dinosaur of communism: The roof of the sports hall in Kosovo's capital Pristina looks like the back of a stegosaurus. Built in 1977, it's still in use for athletic events and concerts.

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Roman Bezjak

The Polish port city of Gdansk has prefabricated apartment blocks from the 1960s and 1970s that are supposed to look like waves from the nearby Baltic Sea. Called "wave houses," they take up whole city blocks. The largest is 850 meters long and is said to be the third-longest apartment building in Europe.

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Roman Bezjak

For Bezjak, these buildings are not just relics of a failed system, but also, simply, home. "That can't be measured according to aesthetic or social categories, but only in terms of memories," he says. This photo shows the city of Halle in eastern Germany.

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Bezjak's photographs repeatedly met with incomprehension from Eastern European colleagues. "They can't understand why anyone would focus on this phenomenon," Bezjak says.

 

Roman Bezjak's book "Sozialistische Moderne - Archäologie einer Zeit" is published by Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2011, 160 pages.

 

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,777206,00.html

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Call me crazy, mais je ne déteste pas certaines de ces constructions. Il y a un côté très rétro-futuriste que j'aime bien. Ça doit être le fan de science-fiction en moi.

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