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Manca Bajec

PhD Work

Claims of the Monument / the Counter-Monument Remains

This practice-led research positions the state of the monument today and, more specifically, in societies existing in a state of unresolved conflict. In doing so, it examines the artwork as a counter-monumental form and as an approach to unravelling issues of a resistance which exist in sites where monument-building is not possible.

Departing from a body of research that looks at how 'destruction' or 'alienation' of sites of memory enables the denial of history and creates formats for further manipulation of historical events, the project considers whether artistic practice can provide a method of confronting the state of memorialisation through an auto-ethnographic critique of historical events. Furthermore, it considers whether artistic practice can provide insight into a space where state facilitated symbolic repair is unstable.

This project takes on an appropriated structure of a play. Presented in six acts, with a prologue and epilogue, it delves into an observation, through a visual and non-visual critique, of three selected, different states of conflict that have appeared in the region of former Yugoslavia and their memorialisation. The first examines the WWII conflict between the Partisans and Domobranci (Homeguard) in Slovenia, the second observes the historical narrative surrounding the WWII concentration camp Jasenovac, and the third looks at the problematic state of denial of 1990s atrocities in Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Each act unveils a methodological approach, which is considered an integral part of the artwork, and through which a different understanding of the counter-monument is appropriated.


  • PhD


    School of Arts & Humanities


    Sculpture, 2013–2019

  • As an artist, researcher and writer, my cross-disciplinary work creates a particular language which is employed to observe the building and rebuilding of national histories and memories, politics and their developments within space and society. My practice is inspired by my work as a stage designer and curator, and is particularly centred around engaging with particular shifts in society. I have an interest in building environments and atmospheres where one can interact with my thoughts and critiques of society. In the past couple of years, I have developed a very specific interest in observing methods of public commemoration and structures of historical revisionism in post-conflict areas, in doing so, also observing how visual language is appropriated by nation states in order to form national identities and develop soft power. My current work is exploring how history, in its attempt of a formative rigid stability, encourages the creation of myth. The practice interacts with a variety of fields of study and interweaves many mediums usually engaging through an appropriated form of theatricality.

  • Degrees

  • BA Visual Arts and Disciplines of Performance, Academy of Fine Arts Venice, 2007; MA Curating and Collections, Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London, 2011; MA Sculpture, Academy of Fine Arts & Design, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2016
  • Awards

  • Ashley Family Foundation Curatorial Research Fellow