Last week Architect Eva Jiřičná and writer Deyan Sudjic were our guest speakers in the latest Riba Bookshop Tuesday late evening talk. The evening served to commemorate the recent publication of Jan Kaplický Drawings and its accompanying exhibition, a collection of prints of the architect’s drawings featured in the book that have been on show inside the bookshop since the beginning of September. This latest talk was an intimate and insightful conversation filled with tales and anecdotes about the life and work of the influential architect, who came to be so well known for his futuristic visions and daring designs.
The publication of the book and the exhibition act as a timely contrast with the current developments in computer drawing and its widespread use across the world of architectural design. One of the most unexpected discoveries amongst those who have visited our exhibition, and were not familiar with Jan Kaplický’s work, was finding out that these highly technical, space age drawings had all been in fact drawn by hand and not by a computer, as it is customary for this kind of drawing today. It is a beautiful contradiction that an architect who designed such technologically advanced buildings, should give so much importance to the act of drawing and mark making. Or perhaps he always understood that the ability to do so is one of the things that separate humans from computers. Years later, when the new Apple gadget tool “Pencil” is presented to the world as the latest technological must have toy, Circa Press pays tribute to Jan Kaplický’s mastery of the pen on paper and, once again, opens up the unfinished debate about computers vs the human hand.
To continue on the book’s theme, next week we’ll publish a list of the top five drawing books compiled by the booksellers at the RIBA Bookshop. Whether you are amongst those who carry pen and paper everywhere you go, or have been meaning to dust off that neglected sketchbook for some time, tune in for some interesting recommendations.
A collection of reproductions of line drawings by visionary architect and master draughtsman Jan Kaplický are currently on show at the RIBA Bookshop until the end of October. The exhibition celebrates the recent publication of the book Jan Kaplický Drawings by Circa Press, and is a homage to the declining art of architectural hand drawing, through the design studies of the influential founding figure of Future Systems.
Renowned for his futuristic designs, Kaplický remained passionate about hand drawing throughout his life. For him, it was an essential component in the process of discovering and constructing new design ideas. He engaged in the practice of this craft daily. Throughout his career Kaplický sketched, while others in his practice took on the task of computer generated drawing.
The book brings together a comprehensive selection of Kaplický’s sketches, ink drawings and photomontages that should appeal to those interested in architecture and design. And, if you are interested in contemporary conceptual art you’ll find a very interesting link between Kaplický’s utopian visions depicted in his two dimensional photomontages and Michael Craig-Martin’s paintings and sculpture installations.
If you are interested in this exhibition, we are organising a bookshop talk on Kaplický’s work at the beginning of the new academic year. Watch this space for further details.