Fascination by Writing

architect Smiljan Radić
written by Alberto Sato Kotani

To affirm that the architect Smiljan Radić is an illustrator is a provocation, or at least sounds bizarre. However, it is not a point of view without interest, which perhaps allows the understanding of the unfathomable world of his creative actions.

It is not infrequent that a contemporary architect has a cultural horizon much wider than in the times of the avant-garde. This statement would be unfounded if it were not taken into account that the avant-garde lived culture as an experience, which later became language, as Giorgio Agamben put it. Knowledge was broadened through speech and writing because the subject did not need to experiment, but to know. Such is the nature of knowledge through the text of representation: "... both in the sense of imitative representation and of metaphoric displacement […] Imagination supplements attention which supplements perception. Attention may have for ‘first effect’ to make those perceptions which are occasioned by their objects to continue still in the mind, when those objects are removed." In this way, architects, designers and artists usually proceed in reverse: they produce images from the text, reinventing the original writing procedure as a pictogram.
Thus, Radić's work is related to literature that moved almost silently with an intriguing discourse, and his illustrations show a complex process of translating the abstract world of words into that of images.