A Monument Beyond Itself

  1. info
  2. images
  3. text
A Monument Beyond Itself, 2022

The work comprises a model and photographs taken in 2018 while visiting the vandalized and disfigured colossal monument, Mound of Brotherhood, or Bratska Mogila, in Sofia, Bulgaria.

A prime example of Socialist Realism, the war memorial was installed in Freedom Park (now Borisova Garden) in 1956, and has provoked reflection on the different social, political and economic eras in Bulgaria ever since. The 41-meter-high obelisk at the centre of the monument is flanked by two gigantic bronze reliefs of human figures. The reliefs depict a wide swath of the Bulgarian people welcoming the Red Army in 1944 and celebrating the victory of socialism over fascism.
Yet, instead of representing the idealized and overly optimistic individuals of the original public sculpture, Bitter and Weber’s installation depicts the monument in ruins. Specifically, it highlights the parts of the statues that were sawed or hacked off, presumably because of the high value of bronze, with strategically placed, black and white closeup images of severed arms and legs.

A Monument Beyond Itself works to demystify the heroism commemorated by Bratska Mogila by drawing our attention to the commonplace disasters of war.
At this moment in March 2022, when we stand in solidarity with the people in Ukraine, who suffer from an aggressive war launched by Putin’s regime, the monument A Monument Beyond Itself against fascism and imperialism again takes on new meanings.

A Monument Beyond Itself was realized in the context of the exhibition Sabine Bitter & Helmut Weber: A Monument Beyond Itself” curated by Denise Oleksijczuk at
The Cabinet: 4th floor – SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings St., Vancouver,
March 11 – April 7, 2022.

The Cabinet and Simon Fraser University are located on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.