Smiljan Radic – Bestiary

Vernissage 27.04.2017 19:00
Curator Michal Škoda

Artist’s lecture: 5pm, 27 April – Student Church of the Holy Family,
Karla IV. 22, České Budějovice

We are honored to be the first gallery in the Czech Republic to present the work of a greatly respected representative of contemporary world architecture, Smiljan Radic from Santiago de Chile. Radic has gained increased attention thanks to his unusual approach to architecture and his distinct creative perspective. His unique designs set him apart not only in his home country, but also on the international architectural scene in general.

In particular, his work is influenced by the distinctive Chilean landscape, which is an intrinsic part of Radic’s identity and which resonates strongly in his architectural projects. With his typical emphasis on the context of place, he manages to sensitively incorporate his buildings into their environment. Radic’s poetic works also make innovative use of materials, including new and fresh combinations thereof. Although they often oscillate between contradictory qualities such as strength/fragility, abstraction/reality, or durability/transience, his buildings always emanate a natural homogeneity.

The role of poetry and fables should be mentioned as well, for they have inspired more than a few of Radic’s projects. For instance, in 2010, Radic found inspiration from Oscar Wilde’s story The Selfish Giant when he created an experimental model entitled The Castle of the Selfish Giant, which he later expanded into the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London (2014).

Smiljan Radic was born in Santiago de Chile in 1965. After studying architecture at the Universidad Católica de Chile, he continued his studies at the Instituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice. He later won first prize at the international Platía Eleftería competition in Heraklion, Crete, and worked on the project’s development and realization in collaboration with architects Nicolas Skutelis and Flavio Zanon. In 2000, Radic won a competition for the Barrio Cívico de Concepción. In 2001, he was named Best National Architect by the Chilean Association of Architects in the 35-and-under age category. He has given countless lectures, and his writings have been published in numerous magazines, including Casabella, A+U, Quaderns, Detail, 2G,Electa, Lotus, and Arq, and in two monographic catalogues published in Spain (El Croquis) and in Chile. In 2007, he taught as a guest professor at the University of Texas. In 2008, he lectured at Harvard with his longtime collaborator, the sculptor Marcela Correa.

Smiljan Radic has participated in numerous exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2010, where he exhibited an installation entitled The Boy Hidden in a Fish. Also that year, he was one of seven architects to participate in Global Ends: Towards the Beginning, held on the 25th anniversary of TOTO Gallery·Ma in Tokyo, where he exhibited Refuge, a work placed on a square pedestal measuring 1,800 mm in size. In 2013, Radic exhibited The Wardrobe and the Mattress (in collaboration with Marcela Correa) at the Maison Hermès in Ginza, Tokyo, and in 2016 he exhibited at the New York MoMA.
Last year, Radic returned to Tokyo’s TOTO Gallery with the premiere ofBestiary, which he is now presenting in slightly altered form at the Gallery of Contemporary Art and Architecture in České Budějovice.

BESTIARY presents a modern bestiary from Radic’s imagination in the form of 20 models symbolizing various fictional creatures, alongside 28 drawings from the series Dead at Home.

The models represent several of Radic’s designs, including The Castle of the Selfish Giant, House for the Poem for the Right Angle, and The Boy Hidden in the Egg.

In a catalogue text for one of Radic’s exhibitions, Vera Grimmer writes: “In the works of Smiljan Radic the themes appear and disappear to return again, as in a piece of music. His chamber music is sometimes so quiet that it cannot be heard at all; not louder than the footsteps in the dark, but then it suddenly breaks out in the fortissimo of the harmony of heavy granite rocks.”

The exhibition is being held in cooperation with the Czech Ministry of Culture and the Faculty of Architecture at the Technical University of Liberec, and with the kind support of the Embassy of the Republic of Chile. The project has received financial support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Chile as part of the DIRAC 2017 culture program.

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