fra Bernardin Škunca

Radman - The Sea, The Stone, The Light

In the name of our Franciscan community I am very pleased to open this exhibition of monochrome drawings by young artist Ivan Radman, drawings whom he gave significant title: The Sea, The Stone, The Light. Our respectable art critic Tonko Maroević, Fellow of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, in his review of Radman's exhibition in Embassy of the United States of America, has pointed up maximal simplicity as mark of visual expression by Ivan Radman. I would phrase this Radman's mark as reduction of pictoral signs.

1. Radman's reduction I have mentioned, I already see in the title of this exhibition: The Sea, The Stone, The Light. We comprehend it here metaphorically, because the sea in these drawings is more than it's physical-chemical structure; the stone is here more than structure of solid matter, and the light is more than just the sun rays. From the reading of Radman's drawings it is apparent that those three fore-substances are actually three fore-signs of a man by whom the man from the beginning discovers bare meaning. It is because those fore-substances have always been more than function to a man, more than material occurrence.

2. It is obvious that Radman, by certain meaning, disregards signs. In his visual language he reduces them to their most simple visibility. At his aspiration to reduction - bringing sign to its most simple occurrence and visibility - Radman nearly couldn't go more. Yet, signs of sea, stone and light had to be distinct! If distinction was gone, visual content would stop to have goal of being a sign, no one would call it art any more, it would recast as philosophy... By his reduction Radman surely wants to say it is important to strive towards the meaning.

3. It is significant to notice that in three fore-signs of Radman's reduction - sea, stone and light - there is no man. That fact in Radman's reduction we surely have to put in direction of the meaning, the way towards a man, or the call to a man to meditation of those fundamental signs of nature. In the time of ecological disasters - almost apocalyptic ones - Radman's removal of man from the world of nature evokes a stance of a serious meditation of Creators work. There as well, Radman's meditation can be felt, respectively his attitude towards created world in a way he saw at St Francis. There lies the reason to show this exhibition in Franciscan cloister.

4. Radman's meditation in pure solitude - with no trace of human presence - speaks about she secret of all that is created, above all about the secret that man is immersed in, the only creature that knows the signs, the only one that watches them and - the only one again - that can reveal their meaning. From the all of the opus that we can see here in it's reduction, we could sense - in one word - Radman's immersing into The Secret, The Secret written by capital letters! Touched by the preface word of Radman himself, I would like to widen out his thought and say - it is not only the light that is the secret, but the sea and the stone as well. While drawing Radman meditates, immerses into The Secret, into the unspeakable Secret. The inner meaning of his signs (drawings, sea, stones and the light) is The Secret. And the most deeper call to a man is immersing into The Secret. That is - I would dare to say - the most beautiful call to a man there is.

5. Finally, I would like to mention one more mark of Radman, the one that also remains on the line of his reduction, but also on the line of his immersing into The Secret. I would like to name it Canticle to The Shore (The Stone) and Offshore (The Sea) in presence and absence of Light. Radman here befriends with St Francis again, who has, as it is known, left us his written trace of meditation and adoration of created world - "Canticle of the Creatures".

While greeting you all, especially the artist himself, I wish to him not to abandon St Francis of Assisi ever! Not only as admirer and cherisher of Creator's Signs, but as a saint that has reached the meaning through humbleness and asceticism and left powerful trace in European and world civilization..

fra Bernardin Škunca
Franciscan Province of St Jeronimus
Zadar, 2002

Copyright © 2002 – Ivan Radman, All Rights Reserved.