Žarko Radaković: Art Critic and Photographer

I wrote earlier about notebooks, specifically about the notebooks of Peter Handke, Žarko Radaković, and Alex Caldiero — three writers whose work I admire and for whose friendship I am grateful.

107 images cut from Handke’s notebooks — cut out by Handke himself — are currently on display at the Galerie Friese in Berlin. Žarko traveled there to see the exhibit and then wrote about it for Deutsche Welle, an essay that just appeared in Politika, Belgrade, as well. Žarko responds to the drawings as an additional creative genre for a man who writes plays and novels and fragments and makes films as well — and raises questions of art produced by untrained artists. I once reviewed an exhibition of Alex’s works and claimed that if he were a better artist his work would be less good. Handke, who recently won the Ibsen International Prize for Drama, claims he doesn’t know how to write plays. If he did, his work would less compelling. But back to the drawings.

When Žarko started looking at the drawings in the gallery, he found images he had already seen elsewhere, namely in Handke’s notebooks. He had not only seen them, he had taken photos of several of them.

These two photos, for instance, show the drawing as displayed in the gallery and then Handke as he does the drawing in a monastery in the Fruska Gora Mountains in northern Serbia:



And this drawing of a shawl and cap left in a cafe in Paris as displayed in the gallery


was in this notebook Žarko photographed.

z and p and notebook

Žarko has traveled often with Peter. He has translated two dozen of his books. Someday he will write a book about Handke, as he has already done for the performance artist Era and for painter Julije Knifer. I look forward to that.

But first our third book, MI/WE/WIR. Žarko has written the first 40 pages. I’m almost done with my 40 pages. He will write the next 40 and I’ll finish the book with 40 more. Friendship is the theme. Our notebooks the sources.

. . . and a view of the exhibition in Berlin to emphasize the size of the drawings:


About Scott Abbott

Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University, 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I'm Director of the Program in Integrated Studies and former Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade), and translations of a book by Austrian author Peter Handke and of a catalogue of an exhibit called "The German Army and Genocide." More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as a watershed scientist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a corrections officer, as university students, and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett and our yellow dog Blue. Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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