Drawing Art Gallery CHAOS

RANKO RADOVIĆ   (1935-2005)

He was architect, urban planner, professor of architecture at the University, author of numerous essays on architecture and urban design, graphic artisy and painter.
Ranko Radović was born in Podgorica and in the early childhood moved to Belgrade with his family, where he grew up and educated. He considered himself a Belgradian of Dorćol, Montenegrin and the World Citizen. He graduated and got MArch degree from the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade and PhD degree from the Paris-Sorbonne University.
As the graphic artist and painter, he had 26 individual exhibitions, among which the most important were in Belgrade, Lisbon, Helsinki, Palermo, Budapest, Hague and Paris.          
He was member of numerous professional organizations in the country and abroad and the author of more than 300 scientific and professional works in magazines and publications and 17 books (4 of which are published abroad) translated in several languages.
As the architect, he designed 29 buildings and was included in the most significant world architects.
In 1987, Ranko Radović got the Award for Graphic Art at the October Salon in Belgrade. He also got the Vuk Award in 1997, Serbian Association of Applied Arts Artists and Designers’ Life Achievement Award in 2000, Đorđe Tabaković Award for architecture in 2001. and the Award of the 12th Salon of Urbanism in 2003.     
In 2006, he got two posthumous recognitions by the establishment of two awards – the Architectural Award ‘Ranko Radović’ and the International Award ‘Ranko Radović’ for Students Achievements in Architecture were established.

At the very beginning of the introduction of the catalogue for his twelfth individual exhibition, which took place in the Gallery of Kolarčev Narodni Univerzitet in Belgrade exactly twenty years ago, in April 1990, Ratko Radović cited the great French architect of the 18th century Claude-Nicolas Ledoux: ’Vous qui voulez devenir architecte, commencez par devenir peintre’. He finished this introduction by revealing his little personal secret, almost in a confessional tone, by mentioning that in his early days he believed that he is going to ’make drawings, rather than lectures and houses’. He also added, as some kind of personal credo, or even a manifest based on the works of the magnificent predecessors who saw the drawing as a base for building am act of creating, that drawing is ’a research facility, a centre for the architecture and an architect, a laboratory for experiments, attempts (essays) and joy… personal view to the world and the architecture’.

The aim of this exhibition is to show how much joy and passion, knowledge and research, thoughts and emotions this author implemented in his work; how much his drawings were, at the same time, completely independent and completed, but also opened for development of further architectural ideas. The tribute he gave to the architecture on paper only confirms well known fact that his creative potential could not be satisfied by plain drawings and designs because his ideas had spread across enormous time and space expanse. Threads of his inspiration were emerging from different directions – from classical Antique, Florentine renaissance and Roman baroque, via Leonardo’s thorough analyses of the human organism, anthropomorphic shapes and floral and animal structures, to the Michelangelo’s belief that human body and its anatomy offer their proportions to the buildings. But this whole kaleidoscope of insights in the achieved values does not end here. At the same time, Radović remains faithful to his own time, in constant quest for beauty and harmony, which he manages to find in modern agglomerations, pure forms and in accordance with the environment. By his drawings, in which he promoted classical values, he, as he had written, tried to confront the actual world of globalization and omnipresent picture of consumption and trade.

This man of splendid personality, great knowledge and supreme erudition saw the architectural drawing as an open dialogue between the architecture and the world it is inspired by, and also, as he had written once, ‘labyrinthine journey in which everything is possible and everything is, at the same time, complete certainty and just a dream.’

His drawings sometimes consist of totally simplified, pure line that precisely outlines researched form. Sometimes they are large, full of dense nets made by sharp strokes of a quill, through which the author achieves rich dialogue between angelic white and demonic black. Some drawings are produced by delicate interweaving of different miniature forms, almost like a threads of thoughts that only united give a harmonic and balanced picture.

The exhibition in the Haos Gallery had three units that complementarily encircle Radović’s artistic opus. The first one is made of his drawings of the architectural buildings, which should not be considered as the architectural designs since they were artistic equivalents of his constructions, made after the designing tasks were accomplished. The second unit includes imaginative drawing works produced by the steady hand of a renowned artist. Almost all of them include inscriptions which have both the visual value and the documentary role of interpreting the meaning of given representation of a theme. And finally, the third part of the exhibition consists of graphic works, or more precisely serigraphs based on his drawings. The aim of these pieces was not to explore artistic equivalents in the graphics technique or to insist on different poetics of this discipline, but to save a great number of drawings from the oblivion. These serigraphs truly succeeded to preserve the character of the original works and thus confirmed Walter Benjamin’s sense of reproduction in and for the new age.

I hope that this exhibition, which also marks the fifth anniversary of Radović’s sudden and unjustified departure, will be not only the reminiscence of his glorious work but also the confirmation of the very special place that he have had and kept in our culture.

Belgrade, January 2010.
Irina Subotić

With certain changes and additions, this introduction was published in French in the catalogue for his individual exhibition in the art gallery Atelier Visconti in Paris, june 2000.

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